Illini grade vs. Purdue: C

Illini grade vs. Purdue: C

Bob Asmussen's take on Saturday's 20-17 loss to Purdue:

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Purdue’s Robert Marve

The Miami transfer (a long time ago) kept his team’s bowl hopes alive by managing the game. Nothing fancy, just a bunch of completitions and some well-timed scrambles. Beat Indiana next week (not in basketball) and the Boilermakers have a postseason.

Purdue B, Illinois D

The Boilermakers gained 2 yards in the first quarter. And weren’t trailing. That’s because Illinois wasn’t much better. And while Purdue picked up the pace in the final three quarters, the Illini struggled. But at least they got in the end zone. Twice.

Purdue B, Illinois C

Give Kawann Short and friends credit for forcing three first-half fumbles. The Illinois defense wasn’t able to budge a turnover out of the careful Boilermakers. On Senior Day, Michael Buchanan had a sack. But the Illini again gave up too many big plays.

Purdue B, Illinois B+

Both teams were perfect on kicks. Both teams punted for a reasonable average. But Taylor Zalewski’s 54-yard field goal, the third longest in school history, gives Illinois the edge.

Purdue B, Illinois C

A play or two here or there and Illinois could have ended its Big Ten losing streak. But the plays haven’t been there since early in 2011. Hard to believe Illini haven’t won at home since Sept. 15. There haven’t been many home seasons worse than this one.

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports

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SEMOIllini wrote on November 17, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Tough times for Illini football.  They played hard but the outcome was the same.  There is enough talent on this team to win more games than they did.  The main issue is EXECUTION---by the players on game day and the coaching staff in practice.  The defense had too many breakdowns resulting in big plays for Purdue and the offense had too many fumbles and too little too late of moving the ball with any consistancy.

Scheelhaase is a good runner, but a poor QB---he is erratic with his passing and struggles too much with his decision making.  This kills drives and wears out the defense. 

Footnote:  The coaching staff made the wrong call with an onside kick with almost 4 minutes left in the game.  If the defense could have had a good series, Illinois might have gotten the ball down 3 with good field position, instead the defense had their back against the wall again.  Also, the onside kick was terrible---it just rolled on the ground and all the Purdue player had to do was fall on it.  The  kicker needed to kick the ball hard into the ground so it would pop up high in the air for a jump ball---but maybe that's what they tried.  Again, poor execution first by the coach and then by the player!!!  This game was there for the taking---but the Illini didn't take it.

Tough day, tougher year.

butkus50 wrote on November 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm

 2013 record projects 2 wins and 10 losses; Interesting we beat UCLA and Baylor last two years in bowls and they are doing quite well; how far Illini have fallen. It will be a long road back.

Thomas can't fire Beckman yet but Beckman must begin with all or most new assistants in 2013, especially defensive and offensive co-ordinators .

Thank goodness Basketball has begun.

jimbo2009 wrote on November 17, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Who cares anymore!

Green Shirt wrote on November 18, 2012 at 8:11 am

Jimbo, Obviously you still care, otherwise you would not be reading this column. 

jimbo2009 wrote on November 18, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Sorry but I can read the column and really really no longer care about Illini football.  Worst feeling I've had and I go back to the Blackman era.  This is even worse than the Moeller era.

SwifferFan wrote on November 18, 2012 at 6:11 am

BTN (Final Drive)---"it's been a tough transition....Illinois played their best and hardest today, that's encouraging."  I hate the fact that the Illini look better against teams that are at the same level of mediocrity or ineptitude as they.  It's really tough for fans when no one expects the team to win and all you hope for is a "good game."  An even worse attitude is, "I pray they don't embarass us on national television."  What can a person who bleeds orange and blue say after this season and before next week's game that hasn't already been said?  I suspect the assistant coaches better polish up their resumes.  I suspect heads are going to start rolling after next week's game.

I hope the search for new assistant's will be one that focuses on excellence at a higher level than Beckman's experience.  The tendency in college football is to hire who you know based on familiarity, rather than expertise, performance and skill.  Consequently, the selection pool will most likely match the level of a person's resume (i.e., if you only know coaches who've coached in lesser leagues for lesser teams, you'll hire those individuals because....familiarity).  Some excellent coaches were summarily dismissed when Beckman was hired, replaced by incompetents.

The sad part of this scenario?  How many really good coaches would choose to coach at Illinois under these circumstances?  Illinois is not a very good place to pull up roots for.  It's so doggone sad and frustrating.  Illinois' has dug itself into a major hole.  Like the book title, "Been Down So Long, Looks Like Up."  I can't imagine Illinois football sinking lower, next year has to be better.  OMG---my Cubs genes are showing!

Illini Drumline Guy wrote on November 18, 2012 at 10:11 am

The tone I feel while reading all these posts is resignation. And I am right there with you.

There is some talent, but every team has talent. We are short of talent and thus have to be perfect to win, which clearly has not happened.

I almost forgot there was a game yesterday. Having been an Orange and Blue supported for 45 years, I can tell you that has never happened before, even in other winless Big Ten seasons.. of which there have been too many.

I told mhy wife the only good thing about yesterday is that we are one more game closer to getting this seaon over with. Next year will be even tougher to get excited about. I will get interested again when I see Big Ten wins. Huge wins over DeVry and Hamberger U are not exciting to me, when you know a pasting is coming the following weeks from the likes of Michigan or Ohio State.

I could get interested again next year in seeing a new QB, as I think Nate S will have had 3 years to prove what he can do, and after next week, it will be FOUR Big Ten wins over 3 seasons......not good. There has not been any development or improvement at all. No reason to expect anything different next year. I would rather watch a new QB and hope for improvement. You can see dozens of college QBs with better arms, quicker releases and better strength and ability to throw deep.

Maybe Maryland can join the Big Ten quickly and we can perhaps get a win there. Rutgers will be challenging.

Props to the person pointing out UCLA and Baylor have progressed since the bowls games while the Illini are in free fall. I have been thinking the same thing.

Moonpie wrote on November 18, 2012 at 10:11 am

Bob, my friend, I watched the hapless Illini and don't know how you Sleepy Gazoo guys can give a C. A grade of D is more like it.

Maybe the guy Thomas should have hired is the one at NIU.

And it's doubtful Illinois could beat NIU.

If we have to take Rutgers and Maryland in (a mistake), can we send them the Illini?