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Nathan Scheelhaase regrets ‘trying to do too much’ on fumble

Updated: December 12, 2012 6:49AM



CHAMPAIGN — No one felt worse than Nathan Scheelhaase about his fumble. He lost the ball when he stretched it out, trying to pick up a first down with 2:31 left and Illinois trailing 10-3 on third-and-one at its own 29.

“I felt like I let a lot of people down,’’ said the junior quarterback, adding that he knows better than to reach with the ball. “Coaches always say it doesn’t come down to one player, but I don’t feel good about how I let us down. It comes down to me trying to do too much. That’s the instinct that comes out. You want to do what you can to get the first down. It’s 100 percent my fault.’’

Gap in defense

Overall, Illinois’ defense played a solid game against Minnesota’s potent offense. But it allowed the Gophers to pick up 13 yards on a third-quarter third-and-14. That strong catch by Brandon Green, which gave Minnesota fourth-and-one at the Illinois 16, was the key play on the touchdown drive that put the Gophers on top 10-3.

“Our defense played pretty darn good against a decent offense, but still not enough to win,’’ coach Tim Beckman said. “Our defense did rise to the occasion, but we have to get them out on third-and-[14].’’

Gophers looking up

Beckman is a big fan of his former Mid-American Conference rival, Jerry Kill, who’s well-liked and respected by those familiar with his success at Southern Illinois and NIU.

It isn’t hard to be happy for Kill, who has battled health problems, on becoming bowl-eligible.

“We played old-fashioned football,’’ Kill said. “We ran the ball, played great defense and we didn’t turn it over. Those things helped us get to where we are.”



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