CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) -- Even a program that prides itself on embracing the renowned stoicism of its head coach had to admit.
This one felt pretty good.
Illinois scored 14 points in each of the first three quarters and held Akron to just 3 points for a convincing 42-3 win on Saturday in the season opener at Memorial Stadium.
Michigan graduate transfer Brandon Peters led the Illini on a touchdown drive on the very first possession of the game -- one that was finished off by a 3-yard touchdown plunge from running back Reggie Corbin.
Even after Corbin left the game in the first quarter with what head coach Lovie Smith called a hip pointer, the Illini offense didn't slow down. (Running back Mike Epstein, who was the team's leading rusher in 2017, also left the game on a cart after injuring his knee.)
Running back RaVon Bonner scored on a 10-yard touchdown run at the end of the first quarter, and then began the aerial assault.
Peters hit USC transfer receiver Trevon Sidney, former linebacker Justice Williams and tight end Daniel Barker for touchdowns and even contributed one of his own on a 20-yard scamper in the third quarter.
But the real hero of the day might have been the defense, which allowed just 3 points, 192 yards and limited the Zips to 3 of 13 on third down conversions.
Linebacker Jake Hansen led the way with 7 tackles, while USC graduate transfer Oluwole Betiku was a wrecking ball on the defensive line with 3 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks.
Illinois' romp was the first 30-plus-point victory over an FBS opponent since beating Purdue by 34 on November 7, 2015.
Up next is a 2:30 p.m. Central kickoff in East Hartford, Conn. against UConn.