CHAMPAGNE — Chase Brown scored three touchdowns and rushed for 151 yards, and Tommy DeVito completed 27 of 37 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns on his debut as Illinois edged Wyoming 38-6 in their season opener Saturday.
Only 41 seconds passed before Brown found his way into the end zone, catching a 14-yard pass from DeVito to put the Illini in front.
Brown topped 2,000 career rushing yards — including his first season at Western Michigan — on an 18-yard run in the second quarter. He followed with an 11-yard run, and kicker Caleb Griffin connected from 27 yards to give Illinois a 17-3 halftime lead.
Wyoming quarterback Andrew Peasley completed just 6 of 21 passes for 40 yards in his debut. Cowboys running back Titus Swen had 98 yards on 17 carries, while Peasley added 76 rushing yards on eight attempts.
The Cowboys converted just 1 of 12 third attempts, while the Illini were 7 of 16.
John Hoyland had 22-yard and 46-yard field goals for the Cowboys alone.
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Illinois increased its lead to 31-6 early in the fourth quarter when Brown scored on a 5-yard run.
Freshman offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. picked up the pace at times, regularly failing to regroup in an effort to wear down Wyoming’s defensive front.
Illini cornerback Jartavius Martin had a team-high seven tackles and broke up three passes.
Illinois: DeVito looked confident on his debut, although there is room for improvement. He connected with a dozen receivers. If Illinois gets a consistent quarterback game, it could do well in the Big Ten West thanks to its stingy defense.
Wyoming: The Cowboys are a few steps behind their 2021 squad after losing much of their top talent to the transfer portal.
Illinois: The Illini open the Big Ten play Friday night in Indiana.
Wyoming: The Cowboys take on host Tulsa on Saturday in a non-conference game.