WMBD/WYZZ TV - CHAMPAIGN - One of Ron Zook's most talked-about recruits at Illinois showed he's the real deal Saturday. Freshman Arrelious Benn caught five passes for 145 yards and rushed for 44 more, highlighting the U of I's annual spring football game at Memorial Stadium.
On the second play from scrimmage, quarterback Isiah "Juice" Williams hit Benn in stride, and the receiver broke free for a 64-yard game, the longest play of the day. Junior running back Walter Mendenhall also had a good afternoon, with just under 100 offensive yards and two touchdowns.
Meanwhile in Normal, running backs were the story as Denver Johnson's team closed spring practice with situational drills. The Redbirds couldn't hold their annual spring game at Hancock Stadium because of the current turf upgrade project.
ISU has to find a way to replace Pierre Rembert's school-record rushing production from 2006 and several candidates, including senior Rafael Rice showed they're ready to step up to the task.
Illinois State opens its 2007 season by hosting Drake August 30. The Illini will open the year two days later against Missouri at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.