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Slow Starts Doom Illini To 3-Game Skid
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- 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 three-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 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.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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