Illini report card: Overall C-

Illini report card: Overall C-

Player of the game: Iowa running back Akrum Wadley

Wadley entered the game leading the Hawkeyes in both rushing and receiving, and his performance (115 rushing yards and a touchdown plus a touchdown catch) just added to his totals. His 5 yards per carry average helped Iowa grind out the win.

 

Offense

Illinois: C-

Iowa: B

Did the Illini show a little more life on offense? Absolutely, and making the change at quarterback from Chayce Crouch to Jeff George Jr. was the cause. But George's progressive inefficiency (49 percent passing, three interceptions) didn't help.

 

Defense

Illinois: C

Iowa: C

Neither defense played a complete game Saturday. The Illini had some early takeaways, but made another quarterback — Nate Stanley this time — look All-Big Ten caliber. The Hawkeyes gave up 446 yards to an Illinois offense averaging 267 through its first four games.

 

Special teams

Illinois: D-

Iowa: A-

Chase McLaughlin can cover up a lot of special teams miscues, and he did so Saturday with his kickoffs (all touchbacks) and field goals (three makes). But the Illini caught unaware on an onside kick and giving up a fake punt wasn't a good look.

 

Coaching

Illinois: C-

Iowa: B+

The quarterback switch alone meant the Illini were likely to be more aggressive in their offensive play calling, which worked well in the first half. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was just aggressive, and several bold moves — particularly on special teams — worked.

 

Overall

Illinois: C-

Iowa: B-

The Illini played better against the Hawkeyes than they did a week ago against Nebraska. Their offense was more dynamic. Their defense notched some takeaways. Then the second half started, Illinois struggled to finish and Iowa ran away with a 29-point victory.