Posted: Friday December 31, 1999 02:03 AM
MIAMI (Ticker) -- Quarterback Kurt Kittner accounted for four touchdowns in a record-setting first half as Illinois capped its best season in five years with a 63-21 rout of Virginia in the Micron PC Bowl.
Just a sophomore, Kittner completed 14-of-24 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns. He already had scored on a run and a reception before throwing for a pair of second-quarter TDs.
Playing in a bowl for the first time since 1994, the Fighting Illini (8-4) set game records for points in a quarter (28) and game (63) and victory margin. They led 42-7 at halftime and cruised to only their third bowl win in 35 years.
Steve Havard, Rocky Harvey and Jameel Cook scored two touchdowns apiece for Illinois, which registered its biggest postseason victory and dealt Virginia its worst loss in 11 all-time bowl games.
Playing in a bowl for the sixth time in the last seven years, the Cavaliers (7-5) got a tying touchdwon from Thomas Jones midway through the first quarter before the defense absolutely collapsed.
Kittner ran one yard for a score to cap a game-opening 71-yard drive and Virginia countered with a seven-yard TD run by Jones, who had 110 yards on 23 carries.
Harvey had 122 yards on 10 rushes, including a 47-yard scoring scamper to put the Illini ahead for good with 4:04 left in the opening period.
Early in the second quarter, Kittner handed off on a reverse to Brandon Lloyd, who stopped and threw back to the wide-open quarterback for a 30-yard touchdown, triggering the rout.
Kittner threw TD passes of 61 and one yard to Jamel Cook around a five-yard touchdown run by Havard, who had 75 yards on 15 carries. The Illini's 42-7 halftime lead left them only four points shy of the entire game record, set last year by Miami.
Virginia marched 80 yards with the second-half kickoff to Dan Ellis' five-yard TD pass to Kevin Coffey but the Illini answered with TD runs by Havard, Harvey and Johnson over a 15-minute span for a 63-14 lead with just under four minutes to play.
Cook caught four passes for 88 yards for Illinois, which held a 611-380 advantage in total yards. The Illini converted 12-of-16 third downs and 2-of-2 fourth downs.
Ellis was 15-of-32 for 146 yards and an interception. He was replaced by David Rivers, who threw a 55-yard TD pass to Will Thompson in the final two minutes.
The Illini posted a 31-21 victory over Virginia in the Florida Citrus Bowl on New Year's Day 1990 in the only previous meeting between the schools.
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