Nathan Scheelhaase was named Big Ten offensive player of the week and picked up the fourth freshman-of-the-week award of his eight-game career Monday.
The redshirt freshman quarterback from Kansas City had five career highs, including four touchdown passes and 118 rushing yards, in Illinois' 44-10 rout of Purdue. Scheelhaase, who completed 16 of 20 for 195 yards with no interceptions, also had career highs in completion percentage (80), total yards (313) and passing efficiency (227.9), the sixth-best single-game rating by an Illinois quarterback.
``He grew up today,'' said offensive coordinator Paul Petrino, who praised the strides Scheelhaase made in recognizing defensive schemes and audibling Illinois into favorable plays.
``I definitely felt that way, Scheelhaase said, echoing Petrino's comment. ``With their blitzes and the things they did, I was able to get us into the right things. We changed a lot of protections, even on running plays.''
Scheelhaase completed passes to 11 different players.
``The game is slowing down for him,'' coach Ron Zook said. ``I don't think it's anywhere near where it's going to be, but he really works at learning from his mistakes. The more he sees, the more he does, the more he learns, the more it's going to become a reaction.''
NOTE: Illinois' final home game vs. Minnesota on Nov. 13 will begin at 11 a.m. and be televised by the Big Ten Network.