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RUT

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AJ Bush runs for 2 TDs, passes for another, Illinois wins

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) After a career that included stops at Nebraska, Iowa Western Community College and Virginia Tech, AJ Bush is getting a chance to play as a graduate transfer at Illinois, and he's helping to turn the program around.

Bush ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns and threw for another in his return to the lineup as Illinois used a big ground game to beat Rutgers 38-17 Saturday, sending the Scarlet Knights to their fifth straight loss.

The win not only snapped a two-game losing streak for Illinois (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten), but it also ended a 13-game losing streak in the Big Ten, dating to 31-27 decision over Michigan State in 2016.

''It's important because they need to know how to win,'' Bush of his young team. ''They need to know what it takes to win and how it feels to win, so when we win, then we can build that culture, build that experience with them and that just takes over and that's how you change the program.''

Bush, who missed the last two games - both losses - with a hamstring injury, scored on runs of 3 and 41 yards in the first half. He iced the game with an 11-yard TD pass to Ricky Smalling early in the fourth quarter.

Reggie Corbin ran for a career-high 137 yards, including a 73-yard scoring dash, as the Illini rushed for 330 yards and had 419 yards in total offense. Mike Epstein added 41-yard touchdown run with 5:07 to go.

''That's exactly who we'd like to be - our personality,'' Illinois coach Lovie Smith said of the running game. ''This is who we want to be. Offensively when you rush for over 300 yards, you have to be really excited about that.''

The three wins in a season ties the most for Smith in his two-plus seasons. The Illini were 2-10 last season and winless in the league.

''It's huge for the program,' senior guard Nick Allegretti said. ''Really excited for everyone in that locker room to experience that first one and it won't be the last.''

Jonathan Hilliman scored on a 32-yard run and freshman Art Sitkowski added a 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Vokolek to get Rutgers (1-5, 0-3) within 24-14 at the half. Gavin Haggerty added a 20-yard field goal with less than six minutes to play, but Epstein scored on the first play after Illinois recovered an onside kick.

Illinois, which had seven interceptions coming into the game, picked three more, including one on the first pass of the game by Sitkowski (29 of 49 for 267). It set up a 39-yard field goal by Chase McLaughlin for a 3-0 lead after less than four minutes.

Hilliiman's TD run gave Rutgers its only lead, but Bush scored twice and Corbin went the distance in opening a 24-7 Illini lead.

''No one likes the feeling of losing,'' Rutgers defensive end Kevin Wilkins said. ''It's hard, but we have to go back to work and correct the mistakes that we've made week in and week out. We have no one to blame but ourselves.''

THE TAKEAWAY

Illinois: If Bush (10 of 18 for 89 yards) can stay healthy, the Illini can score and win more games.

Rutgers: Things are looking bleak. The Scarlet Knights may not win another game this season.

ILLINI SUPPURLATIVES

It has scored 30 or more points three times this season, tying its most 30+ point games since 2013 (7). It marked the first time it has had two 100-yard rushers in a game since at Purdue on Nov. 7, 2015, when Ke'Shawn Vaughn had 180 and Josh Ferguson 133.

OFFICIAL HURT

Center judge Mike Conlin left the field in the third quarter to be examined on the Rutgers' bench. He returned the next series. He had apparently been hit in the head in the first half when a ball was thrown in from the sideline to be marked. There was an extra official who replaced him briefly on the eight-man crew.

UP NEXT

Illinois: Returns home to face Purdue in Big Ten game on Saturday.

Rutgers: At Maryland in Big Ten game Saturday.

---

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Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 5:14
43-C.McLaughlin extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
38
17
Touchdown 5:14
26-M.Epstein runs 41 yards for a touchdown.
1
plays
41
yds
0:00
pos
37
17
Field Goal 5:15
95-J.Davidovicz 20 yards Field Goal is Good.
13
plays
61
yds
3:33
pos
31
17
Point After TD 14:10
43-C.McLaughlin extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
31
14
Touchdown 14:15
1-A.Bush complete to 4-R.Smalling. 4-R.Smalling runs 11 yards for a touchdown.
13
plays
89
yds
04:51
pos
30
14
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 0:57
99-G.Haggerty extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
24
14
Touchdown 1:02
8-A.Sitkowski complete to 89-T.Vokolek. 89-T.Vokolek runs 7 yards for a touchdown.
11
plays
80
yds
03:30
pos
24
13
Point After TD 7:17
43-C.McLaughlin extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
24
7
Touchdown 7:28
2-R.Corbin runs 73 yards for a touchdown.
1
plays
73
yds
00:08
pos
23
7
Point After TD 9:36
43-C.McLaughlin extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
17
7
Touchdown 9:47
1-A.Bush scrambles runs 41 yards for a touchdown.
3
plays
47
yds
00:48
pos
16
7
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 1:44
43-C.McLaughlin extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
10
7
Touchdown 1:48
1-A.Bush to RUT 3 FUMBLES. 1-A.Bush runs 3 yards for a touchdown.
9
plays
65
yds
03:30
pos
9
7
Point After TD 5:18
99-G.Haggerty extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
3
7
Touchdown 5:25
23-J.Hilliman runs 32 yards for a touchdown.
14
plays
70
yds
07:05
pos
3
6
Field Goal 13:00
43-C.McLaughlin 39 yards Field Goal is Good.
3
plays
5
yds
00:33
pos
3
0
Team Stats
1st Downs 17 25
Rushing 11 8
Passing 4 14
Penalty 2 3
3rd Down Conv 8-16 4-14
4th Down Conv 1-1 1-2
Total Net Yards 407 386
Total Plays 62 76
Avg Gain 6.6 5.1
Net Yards Rushing 330 119
Rush Attempts 43 30
Avg Rush Yards 7.7 4.0
Net Yards Passing 77 267
Comp. - Att. 10-19 29-46
Yards Per Pass 4.1 5.8
Sacked - Yards Lost 2-12 0-0
Penalties - Yards 7-80 10-105
Touchdowns 5 2
Rushing TDs 4 1
Passing TDs 1 1
Other 0 0
Turnovers 0 3
Fumbles - Lost 2-0 1-0
Int. Thrown 0 3
Punts - Avg 4-44.0 4-44.8
Return Yards 78 84
Punts - Returns 1-5 2-16
Kickoffs - Returns 3-46 3-68
Int. - Returns 3-27 0-0
Kicking 6/7 3/4
Extra Points 5/5 2/2
Field Goals 1/2 1/2
Safeties 0 0
1234T
Illinois 3-2 101401438
Rutgers 1-5 770317
77 PASS YDS 267
330 RUSH YDS 119
407 TOTAL YDS 386
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
A. Bush 1 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
55.6% 89 1 0 115.4
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
58.3% 312 1 0 119.8
A. Bush 10/18 89 1 0
T. Davis 15 WR
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
0% 0 0 0 0.0
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
50% 17 1 0 286.4
T. Davis 0/1 0 0 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
R. Corbin 2 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
11 137 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
59 464 5
R. Corbin 11 137 1 73
A. Bush 1 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
18 116 2
SEASON ATT YDS TD
44 258 2
A. Bush 18 116 2 41
M. Epstein 26 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
9 63 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
57 387 3
M. Epstein 9 63 1 41
R. Bonner 21 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 18 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
26 127 1
R. Bonner 4 18 0 7
C. Green 5 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 -4 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
1 -4 0
C. Green 1 -4 0 -4
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
T. Davis 15 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
5 59 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
13 123 0
T. Davis 5 59 0 21
R. Smalling 4 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 17 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
11 150 3
R. Smalling 2 17 1 11
S. Mays 9 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 11 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
14 139 0
S. Mays 2 11 0 7
C. Green 5 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 2 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
5 51 0
C. Green 1 2 0 2
M. Epstein 26 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
8 80 0
M. Epstein 0 0 0 0
R. Corbin 2 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
7 38 0
R. Corbin 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
D. Phillips 3 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-0 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-0 3 0.0
D. Phillips 0-0 0.0 1
N. Hobbs 8 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-0 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-0 1 0.0
N. Hobbs 0-0 0.0 1
J. Martin 21 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-0 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-0 3 0.0
J. Martin 0-0 0.0 1
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
C. McLaughlin 43 K
IN-GAME FG XP
1/2 5/5
SEASON FG XP
9/13 17/17
C. McLaughlin 1/2 39 5/5 8
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
B. Hayes 14 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
4 44.0 2
SEASON NO AVG IN20
27 45.6 2
B. Hayes 4 44.0 2 51
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
C. Sandy 11 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
3 15.3 17 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
6 19.0 17 0
C. Sandy 3 15.3 17 0
A. Roberts 36 TE
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 0.0 0 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
1 0.0 0 0
A. Roberts 1 0.0 0 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
C. Sandy 11 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 5.0 5 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
3 2.7 5 0
C. Sandy 1 5.0 5 0
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
A. Sitkowski 8 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
63% 267 1 3 105.9
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
53.4% 750 3 11 85.0
A. Sitkowski 29/46 267 1 3
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
J. Hilliman 23 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
10 76 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
62 275 5
J. Hilliman 10 76 1 32
R. Blackshear 2 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
15 34 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
78 362 2
R. Blackshear 15 34 0 7
B. Melton 18 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 7 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
3 21 0
B. Melton 1 7 0 7
I. Pacheco 10 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 3 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
29 116 0
I. Pacheco 1 3 0 3
A. Sitkowski 8 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
3 -1 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
11 -33 0
A. Sitkowski 3 -1 0 6
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
B. Melton 18 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
6 70 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
21 202 0
B. Melton 6 70 0 28
T. Vokolek 89 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
5 47 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
7 67 1
T. Vokolek 5 47 1 22
R. Blackshear 2 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
6 44 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
25 142 1
R. Blackshear 6 44 0 16
S. Jones 15 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 37 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
10 110 1
S. Jones 3 37 0 15
E. Lewis 21 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 28 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
17 141 0
E. Lewis 4 28 0 10
J. Hilliman 23 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 20 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
9 70 0
J. Hilliman 3 20 0 7
D. Robinson 85 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 12 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
5 39 0
D. Robinson 1 12 0 12
E. Wormley 14 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 9 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 9 0
E. Wormley 1 9 0 9
I. Pacheco 10 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
0 0 0
I. Pacheco 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
D. Hayes 22 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 2 1.0
D. Hayes 1-0 1.0 0
M. Tverdov 97 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
M. Tverdov 1-0 1.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
G. Haggerty 99 K
IN-GAME FG XP
0/1 2/2
SEASON FG XP
0/1 2/2
G. Haggerty 0/1 0 2/2 2
J. Davidovicz 95 K
IN-GAME FG XP
1/1 0/0
SEASON FG XP
5/5 10/10
J. Davidovicz 1/1 20 0/0 3
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
A. Korsak 94 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
4 44.8 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
37 42.2 0
A. Korsak 4 44.8 0 48
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
I. Pacheco 10 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 20.5 22 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
6 19.8 22 0
I. Pacheco 2 20.5 22 0
J. Hilliman 23 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 27.0 27 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
2 17.0 27 0
J. Hilliman 1 27.0 27 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
A. Young 20 DB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 8.0 12 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
5 7.8 12 0
A. Young 2 8.0 12 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 RUT 35 0:50 7 17 Punt
13:33 RUT 26 0:33 3 5 FG
5:18 RUT 35 3:30 9 65 TD
0:28 ILL 28 0:06 9 42 FG Miss
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
10:35 RUT 47 0:48 3 47 TD
7:36 ILL 27 0:08 1 73 TD
5:34 RUT 32 0:56 4 -7 Punt
0:57 RUT 35 0:12 4 -6 Halftime
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:26 ILL 29 2:03 5 19 Punt
4:52 ILL 26 4:51 13 74 TD
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:05 ILL 23 3:11 7 13 Punt
5:15 RUT 35 0:01 2 41 TD
3:12 ILL 30 2:02 4 18
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:00 RUT 11 0:00 1 89 INT
12:30 ILL 35 7:05 14 75 TD
1:44 ILL 35 1:10 5 -6 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:49 RUT 30 0:39 3 23 INT
9:36 ILL 35 1:58 6 10 Fumble
7:17 ILL 35 1:08 5 -3 Downs
4:32 RUT 20 3:30 11 80 TD
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
0:42 ILL 35 0:00 9 46 FG Miss
8:46 RUT 10 3:15 10 23 Punt
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:10 ILL 35 1:01 4 -5 Punt
9:08 RUT 37 3:33 12 61 FG
5:14 ILL 35 1:58 10 -5 INT