Illinois came home and took care of business, a fact that shouldn't go overlooked for a program that has a track record for losing just when things look good.

CHAMPAIGN -- Returning home with some mojo to start the second half of the season, Illinois football took care of business Saturday. That's something not always assumed with the Illini.

Illinois forced five turnovers, returning two of the interceptions for touchdowns, and blocked two punts in a 43-13 win over Indiana in a Big Ten Conference game at Memorial Stadium Saturday.

"It's good to win,'' said Illini defensive coordinator Vic Koenning. "It's not something that we take for granted, but our guys expect to get after it.''

Treating the final six games like another season, Illinois handled the responsibility of being roughly a two-touchdown favorite. If there was a move made by the Illini this season, this was one game chalked up as a win. Instead of losing a homecoming game and blowing any momentum banked (i.e., the loss to Minnesota in 2008), Illinois continued to build its confidence and a bowl resume.

Illinois improved to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten. The Illini host Purdue (4-3, 2-1) next Saturday (11 a.m., TV TBA). The Boilermakers lost 49-0 at Ohio State Saturday.

"We're going to keep doing the things we've been doing since game one,'' Illinois coach Ron Zook said. "They do a good job of worrying about us, taking care of us, then being prepared for the opponent.''

If somebody wanted to worry about something, Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase wasn't available for interviews while getting treatment on his injured throwing hand. Zook wouldn't elaborate much but said Scheelhaase had the hand stepped on during the first half. Scheelhaase returned to play in the second half. Otherwise, Illinois entertained the alums with big plays from Koenning's defense -- a unit that shut down Indiana's high-scoring offense.

Illinois grabbed four interceptions and stripped one fumble to force five turnovers for the first time in nine years. Illinois returned two picks for touchdowns in the same game for the first time since Bobby Jackson and Christian Morton pulled the double at Purdue in 2001. The Illini also blocked two punts -- the Illini did that on back-to-back Indiana possessions.

"The defense and the special teams were awesome,'' said Illini offensive coordinator Paul Petrino. "We should have scored more points. We had a couple nice easy field positions where we should have scored more.

"We're definitely improving. This is the second season. We started out 1-0. We want to get to 2-0.''

Interestingly enough, bowl reps making a trip to Illinois don't look like a waste of time, and the folks from the Texas Bowl were here.

"The confidence is very high,'' said Illini middle linebacker Martez Wilson, who 12 tackles and blocked a punt. "If we win the rest of our games, we'll go to a very nice bowl with a 9-3 record.''

Safety Tavon Wilson provided the hint of what's to come, grabbing an interception on the game's third play from scrimmage, setting up the Illini at the Indiana 21. Illinois settled for a field goal, and the Illini defense took scoring into its own hands.

Sophomore cornerback Patrick Nixon-Youman returned a second-quarter interception 68 yards for a touchdown, and freshman linebacker Jonathan Brown returned an interception 66 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

"We've got to think like we're on offense,'' said defensive tackle Corey Liuget. "Try to get turnover, take the ball away and turn them  into points.''

Illinois converted one blocked punt into a safety. Scheelhaase passed for two touchdowns, but Indiana gained 388 yards to Illinois' 289. Illinois converted 24 points off the five turnovers created by the defense.

"You can have a great week of practice and not play well,'' Koenning said. "It's not that it's an automatic. If you don't practice well, you can't play well. They worked really hard. Our (scouting reports) were long and extensive. They worked hard at learning what to do.''

Indiana (4-3, 0-3) didn't make much of a game of it, suffering its second blowout loss in three Big Ten games.

"Losing is part of the game,'' Indiana coach Bill Lynch said. "We're disappointed. We're going to take a shower. We're going to feel bad going home, but we're going to wake up tomorrow and get ready for Northwestern because that's what you do as a football team.''

Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell, who entered the game ranked first in the Big Ten in passing with 16 touchdowns and three interceptions, threw for 279 yards and one touchdown with three interceptions. Chappell only took one sack, but he was hurried nine times and hit hard several times.

NOTES: Running back Jason Ford left the game with a right ankle sprain. His status was unknown. . . Illini team physician Dr. Jeff Kyrouac suffered an apparent broken leg injury on the sideline and needed surgery. . . Illinois last forced five turnovers in a game against Louisville in 2001. . . 

  Illinois report card Offense -- C Going against a weak Indiana defense, Illinois didn't take advantage of good field positions. Had it not been for a big day by the defense and special teams, this one could have gone the other way.   Defense -- A+ The latest addition in a squad making big improvement under Vic Koenning was forcing five turnovers and scoring touchdowns on two interception returns. Maybe Koenning already deserves a raise.   Special teams -- A+ Illinois blocked punts on back-to-back Indiana possessions, converting one play into a safety. Indiana had 99 more total yards, but the big plays carried Illinois.   Overall -- B+ This wasn't brain surgery. Remember, it was a game against Indiana. Illinois, nevertheless, took care of business, even if the offense didn't do much to help the cause. One concern is the severity of the injury to quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase's throwing hand.