The Associated Press Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has taken a beating this season, one like no other Big Ten quarterback.
The Illini (2-7, 0-5 Big Ten) have given up 32 sacks, 10 more than any other team in the conference. Scheelhaase has been on the receiving end of most of those, and it's shown.
The junior has missed part or all of four games with an ankle injury and a concussion. And Illinois' coaches, with the whipping Scheehaase has taken in mind, have further limited the struggling Illini offense. The game plan as the weeks have passed has changed to include more protection and to cut down on the downfield passes that are were a relatively small part of the offense to begin with.
''I don't want the quarterback hit,'' coach Tim Beckman said Monday, explaining how Illinois had cut its downfield attack to get the ball out of Scheelhaase's hands in a hurry and protect him. ''You have to. You have to keep your quarterback healthy.''
That lack of downfield passing has...