CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — One of the biggest plays of Illinois’ opening week win was made by a Chicago area native who has had quite a start to his collegiate football career.
Not even Miles Scott would have foreseen his biggest play with the Illini so far coming on the defensive side of the ball – but his team is happy it did.
The Dolton native and Illinois safety, who came to the school as a wide receiver, had a “Pick Six” in the third quarter against Toledo on Saturday, helping the Illini claw back from a 12-point second half deficit.
They’d go on to win the game 30-28 on Caleb Griffin’s last-second field goal as Bret Bielema’s team won their third-straight season opener.
For that effort, Scott was named the Big Ten Conference’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week along with Minnesota safety Tyler Nubin.
While he had six tackles against the Rockets, including five solo tackles, it was his 48-yard interception return of a pass from Dequan Finn with Illinois trailing 19-7 that earned the accolades. It was the Big Ten’s only “Pick Six” during week one action across the conference.
“I looked at the receiver that I was supposed to be covering, I saw the QB look at him, and I looked back and the ball was already coming, and I just broke down and caught it and just took it to the house,” said Scott of the play. “I was just happy that my teammates were celebrating with me because if it wasn’t for them, I couldn’t have made the play.”
It continues what has been a transition for Scott, who first played at St. Laurence High School in Burbank before doing a post-graduate season at St. Thomas More in Connecticut. He arrived in Champaign as a walk-on wide receiver, having played the position primarily in high school, but has transitioned into a defensive back after being put on scholarship last spring.
Scott will be back in the lineup this Friday when Illinois faces Kansas in Lawrence at 6:30 p.m. central time.