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Illinois is like a lot of teams that script their first 10 or 12 plays each week. The well-rehearsed opening has gone all wrong during a 3-game losing skid.

Coach Ron Zook says those problems are in part to blame for Illinois (6-3 Big Ten, 2-3) scoring just nine points a game over that stretch. The Illini haven't scored a first-half point is losses to Ohio State, Purdue and Penn State.

Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (SHEEL'-hows) says better execution in those early drives would no doubt make the Illini more explosive.

No. 22 Michigan is next on the schedule. Illinois lost to the Wolverines in a 67-65 shootout last fall.

Zook says tailback Jason Ford will see a lot of the ball after rushing for 100 yards against Penn State.

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