UI grade vs. Western Michigan: B

UI grade vs. Western Michigan: B

Our breakdown from today's 24-7 win by Tim Beckman's Illini (give us your headline at our HQ Facebook page by clicking here):

Player of the Game: Ashante Williams

As if the 'D' needed another playmaker, how do nine tackles sound? And the senior went all Honey Badger on us with the game-changing play — a 60-yard pick-6.


Illinois: C

Western Michigan: C

The Broncos actually outgained the Illini (259 to 248 yards). Four WMU turnovers — thanks, defense — were the difference.


Illinois: A

Western Michigan: C

An elite QB like Alex Carder, who averaged 351 yards vs. BCS foes last year, can expose a unit. The Illini made him work for his 239 yards.

Special teams

Illinois: B

Western Michigan: B

After his 45-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right, Nick Immekus went straight to the kicking net. And he nailed his next one — a 43-yarder.


Illinois: B

Western Michigan: D

Except for Nathan Scheelhaase's bum ankle, Tim Beckman's debut was ideal. Love the coach's high-fives on the sidelines. Love the defense even more.

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports

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aaeismacgychel wrote on September 01, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I was really surprised Western Michigan came out playing as jittery as they did- they usually show up ready to play against BCS schools and that was just not the case today.  And Carder made some really poor decisions too.  That said, great game for the defense- they certainly looked like they were the real deal today.  Just a phenomenal game for Buchanan and some really great breaks on the ball from the corners.  Our secondary looked the best it has since 2001.

On offense, we started out playing really well.  Some much better decisions from Scheelhaase this year compared to last year.  We definitely stagnated after that first quarter and it will be interesting to see how we come out against ASU next week and if we can get our passing game going.  I almost think Beckman might have gone a little vanilla with the playcalling today just to keep ASU from being able to do much research.

All in all, good game and nice to see us lead a game from start to finish.  And I'm super excited about watching us play in person next week in Tempe.



peterborich wrote on September 01, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Go Illini....6-game regular season losing streak is over!   Beat ASU !

jimbo2009 wrote on September 01, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Was that Gary Moeller calling our plays in the 2nd half?  :)

Dan Bloeme wrote on September 01, 2012 at 5:09 pm

 F I R E B E C K M A N.com    ; )


Nice 1st victory. Hope Nate is alright. Let's win the B1G


peterborich wrote on September 01, 2012 at 7:09 pm

2nd half offense = Get Well ASAP Nathan

JohnUI82 wrote on September 01, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Nathan's ankle wasn't the only exception. So was the attendance. From the look and sound of things, there were more Iowa fans at Soldier Field than Illini fans at Memorial Stadium, with both games against MAC opponents. Can anyone imagine a game in Ann Arbor, Columbus or Lincoln with 17,000 unsold seats, regardless of opponent or weather? I hope no key recruiting targets were making campus visits today. I'm not sure it matters who's coaching if fan support remains so tepid.

Openmind wrote on September 01, 2012 at 8:09 pm

10 minutes before game time it was looking bleak. Talked to one family who showed up just before half once they realized it wasn't going to rain. Easily the smallest crowd I have seen at a game. I'm willing to go to another game. The players put forth a tremendous effort and it was a great game to watch.

increvable wrote on September 01, 2012 at 8:09 pm

C'mon, everyone was under the impression that it was going to rain its ass off all day. Very unfair to read anything into the attendance figures.

Openmind wrote on September 01, 2012 at 8:09 pm

First, it was a great game to watch. I'll give a grade of D- to the WCIA weather team. The day was pleasant to watch a football game and I never felt a drop of rain until we got back to our car.

Our D is going to carry us this season, no question about that.

I was confused with Nathan's injury. I had seen O'toole warming up for quite sometime and just thought Beckman wanted to make a change. Hope his ankle is ready to go for next week. We need him.

I would give the play calling a C+. It doesn't take a genius to realize NOTHING in the run game was going to happen outside the tackles. Either we are slow or WMU also has fast players. Having said that NOTHING was happening inside the tackles either. Looks like the O line has lots of work to do before next weekend.

Just really impressed with our defense and very happy the guys got a win. Go Illini!



fhjohnsonjr66 wrote on September 01, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Not a bad first half but disappointed in the offense the second half--it looked too much like last years offense the 2nd half of the season.  The offensive line was very weak and Illini QBs seemed to not have time to throw and the backs were too often swollowed up by penetrating lineman.  Receivers seemed unable to distance themselves from defenders.  The kicking game seemed fine other than the missed first field goal attempt but the second was true.  Good start but the offense needs to come through.  The defense cannot carry the team for the year and with WI, MI, and other big strong teams the offense needs to generate some rest for the defense.

houstonillini84 wrote on September 04, 2012 at 1:09 pm

The defense looked surprisingly good IMO and the offense looked surprisingly bad. We cant count on WRs going downfield uncovered the way we got that touchdown. Last year AJ Jenkins ran free for a few games and accounted for a huge amount of offense before defenses adjusted and shut him down, and then the offense totally stalled. Hopefully we dont see that again when the competition gets tougher. I was very disappointed in the lack of surge from the OL when running the ball, especially against a 3-3-5 defense. That doesnt bode well for when we face Big Ten calibre lines. Even with Nate out we should have been able to get some push on running plays.

The good news is that the defense looked very good. They won the game for us.

I also liked the way Beckman had them fired up and playing right from the kickoff.

Real issue for the future of Beckman is recruiting. Really need to see a step up in recruiting this year. The talent will be getting thin after this season (its already thin on offense).