Some random thoughts on Saturday's game (didn't see most of the game since I was out of town but from what I heard and the bit I I did see I got some thoughts)
First of all, some positive. Those helmets look awesome!
Another slow start puts the Illini in a bad position early. The defense gets a three and out, and then Illinois fumbles the punt return and gives Penn State great field position. Once again, the defense stops them, but special teams messes up again by running into the kicker. These are penalties and mistakes good teams don't make. Right now, Illinois seems to be a long way away from being a good team.
It was interesting to see a game where there wasn't really a quarterback change. Reilly O'Toole doesn't even throw a pass. One problem I have is Nathan Scheelhaase threw 46. That is way to many for this type of quarterback. At the same time, I understand when instantly trailing by a decent number, you have to pass to try and comeback.
How many times did the running backs touch the ball for running plays on Saturday? How about 11. That's it. I know the running game has been a struggle, but we still have to at least try and do it with these guys.
Want to go to a bowl game? Well, if that's the case, the Illini will probably have to win out at home, but they are also going to need a road victory. Which one sounds easy to you? At Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio State, or Northwestern? Next week might be this team's best bet to pick up one.
When your special teams and defense struggle, it will be very tough to win. It doesn't matter who you are. It's back to the drawing board and hopefully they can figure out something quick because the schedule doesn't get any easier. A trip to Madison is right around the corner, and while this Badger team looks a little more vulnerable than in years past, the Illini don't stand a chance unless they can play some smarter football. A whole lot can happen in a week, so you never know what to expect.
Up Next: Prediction Standings.