Brandon Peters had a spectacular day at quarterback, and three different runners found the end zone as Illinois blew out Akron in a season-opening victory.
Peters threw for 165 yards and three touchdowns, and he added 36 rushing yards and a touchdown as he made the start for the Illini. Mike Epstein rushed for 45 yards, but was forced to leave the game due to an injury.
Ra’Von Bonner and Reggie Corbin both rushed for touchdowns as Illinois romped their way to a non-conference victory to open up the year.
Ricky Smalling collected four catches for 54 yards, and Josh Imatorbhebhe, Trevon Sidney, and Dre Brown each had a pair of receptions.
The Illini got off to a hot start on their very first drive of the season, going 63 yards on 10 plays on a drive that took just over three minutes. Corbin rushed in the ball from three yards out to give the Illinois an early edge.
After Akron made it 7-3 with a field goal, the Illini offense really clicked into gear, scoring 21 unanswered points to conclude the half. Bonner rushed for a 10-yard touchdown to end the first, then Peters found Sidney for a touchdown pass early in the second to make it 21-3. Peters then got into the act with his legs, rushing for a 20-yard touchdown to give Illinois a 28-3 halftime lead.
Peters threw two more touchdown passes in the third quarter, and from there Illinois cruised to a 1-0 record on the season.
Illinois will hit the road for their next game, taking on UConn next Saturday. The game will kick off at 2:30 p.m., and will air on CBS Sports Network.