SDSU’s money game was over early, as Illinois rolled the Jackrabbits easily.

The outcome of SDSU-Illinois was already well in hand when the most telling play of the game occured.

Up 28-3 in the second quarter, Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhasse handed it off to the youngest in the Illini’s stellar stable of running backs, Donovann Young. He sliced through the Jackrabbits defense, breaking arm tackles and powering 41 yards for his second touchdown of the day.

Simply overmatched. It was that kind of day for the Jackrabbits.

Illinois made sure SDSU knew that they were in two different leagues, pounding the Jackrabbits in nearly every facet of the game and running away with the easy victory, 56-3 at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 10.

Much of the story could be told in the first half, as the Fighting Illini took off midway through the first quarter scoring 28 points before the Jackrabbits could pick up an offensive first down. Illinois added on one more touchdown on Young’s run, making it 35-3 before halftime and creating what proved to be an insurmountable lead for SDSU.

“We never got any momentum. We got one stop on defense, but after that it was a long day,” head coach John Stiegelmeier said.

Illinois scored on eight of their 12 offensive drives and rolled up 519 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, SDSU mustered a measly 96 yards during the game, including 25 yards on 24 rushing plays and 2 for 12 on third down conversions.

“Just too many mental mistakes and we didn’t tackle as a team. It has to be better if you play a team like them. They are a great team and we just didn’t step up for the occasion,” said Jacks defensive back, Skyler Luxa.

“I don’t know if they necessarily presented anything differently than Nebraska or Minnesota, but when you are facing a team like that, you have to capitalize and that is what we didn’t do,” Jacks quarterback Thomas O’Brien said. “We can’t be defined as a team by what another team does. If they are scoring a bunch of points, we have to do our own thing. We have to do our job.”

Stiegelmeier said this could be the most important of the last four games where the Jacks have played up a level.

“This one may be the best learning experience there is rather than building on something that didn’t happen anyway. There are no moral victories. Those guys don’t feel good playing anybody close.”

It was a great game for Illinois, leading to their largest margin of victory in 67 years. SDSU was handed $400,000 for the contest, but at what cost?

For the players? They don’t have time to drag their feet because a tough test at Cal Poly awaits them on Saturday.

“I’m disappointed for our players but I expect us to rebound because we have a bunch of winners on our football team,” Stiegelmeier said.