I will give the Illini credit in one area. They punched back with a pair of touchdowns in the second half when UW was flexing its muscles. Down the stretch, though, the Huskies’ talent simply won out as I predicted it would. The Illini offense not putting up numbers like we saw in the first two games helped UW’s cause as well. I’ll be interested to get y’all’s opinion on that, but I see it more as the Illini O being a victim of circumstance and bad luck rather than a regression. A number of big pass plays come to mind as well that, if successful, would have changed the tide. Overall, there’s a lot you can take out of this one, and a 10 point loss to a top 20 team is not stinging by any means.
Don’t have access to a postgame Beckman soundbite this game, so we’ll go with a quote from UW coach Steve Sarkisian, via my colleague Matt Daniels.
Before I pivot away from the game, a quick defensive shoutout goes to Jonathan Brown, Eaton Spence, and Mason Monheim, who each had double digit tackles.
Now, a quick sidebar to put a cap on the Chicago Homecoming. I came away pleased with the experience. It was promoted often and well, and it showed by the amount of Illini fans who showed up early to tailgate. I was in the radio booth for most of the game, but during the time I spent on the concourse and outside the stadium, the atmosphere was positive and lively, and the interaction between both teams’ fanbases was cordial. And it goes without saying that Soldier Field is a fantastic venue to host this type of event. Let’s do it again soon. If you were there, leave me a note and let me know how your day was.
On to the numbers…
We had 45 pickers this week, with 27 of you (60%) correctly picking that UW would come out on top. Congrats go to mvillini and Stephen Walko, who both registered our first perfect RSDT of the season by correctly picking the margin of victory. Other than that, the RSDTs were not too bad, save for the few of you who picked a big Illini win. We also picked up four new players this week, which is nice to see.
In the overall standings, we saw a good amount of movement, as smmccaw_11748, by virtue of his prediction of a big Illini win, drops from first to 16th, and mbelcher rises from fifth to first. Plenty of you are within striking distance of the top spot even if it seems like you’re far down on the list. We’re up to 62 pickers overall, which is a great amount for this early in the season. My colleague Ed Bond thinks we can get to 100 pickers by the end of the year. Spread the word and make it happen, people.
No look ahead to the Illini’s next game since we’re up against a bye week. Just some random thoughts:
Coming up next Monday: Miami Predictions
[highlights via BTN and ESPN]