Observations on the win over Illinois, 30-19!

1-We had six red zones (3 in each half), two created by our defense, for 24 points while Illinois has four red zones (only one in the second half) for 17 points. It was an unimpressive win, but still a win and a win on the road. The defense had a horrendous 2nd quarter, but a pretty solid second half.

2-Hart definitely was the player of the game with 40 rushes for 234 yards plus 3 catches for 23 yards and one TD. Henne was 14 of 27 for 114 yards including two picks, one TD and one sack. We were 12 of 24 in 3rd and 4th down conversions for 23 first downs for 408 yards in total offense. It was nice to see Max Martin move up to the backup role, and gain 67 yards on 12 carries for his first TD as a Wolverine. Our second half success negated an Illinois time of possession advantage, and created a 13 minute game advantage for us. This was a reversal of 19+ minutes in the second half. It was our best game rushing the ball with 294 yards in net rushing.

3-Beutjer ended the game with 20 of 39 for 156 yards and one TD, but 3 second half picks was his downfall. Thomas had 20 carries for 68 yards, but we completely shut him down in the second half. Davis and Thomas had 7 catches each, but our linebackers did a better job covering them and controlling their yardage in the second half. Illinois had 19 first downs and was 6 of 18 in 3rd and 4th down conversions for 254 yards in total offense. We forced them into 4 punts and created 4 turnovers, turning two turnovers into 10 points while Illinois could only manage 3 points off our two turnovers.

4-It is hard to believe that we have now missed 4 extra points. Mann, Gonzalez and Rivas may yet cost us a game. Finley had an off game with 3 punts for a 38 yard average including 2 touchbacks when we needed coffin corners. Breaston did not have a good game on punt or kickoff coverage, but he did an adequate job. He still looks dangerous to turn the ball over at any time. Nienberg did a nice job on kickoffs especially against the wind. It was disgraceful to take a safety at the end of the game. Our special teams really are below average to mediocre for a Division I football power and ranked team.

5-Shazor led our defense with 12 tackles while Leon Hall has 4 pass break ups, and McClintock came through with two second half interceptions. Marlin Jackson had his best game this year with 7 tackles and his first interception of the year.

I believe we took 4 or 5 pass interference penalties of our uncharacteristic 10 penalties for 86 yards, one by Jackson and two or three by Curry. We have zero pass rush, and only had one sack in the game. How in the world could we beat Purdue with this type of play? Orton will help the Boilermakers to maintain time of possession advantage so our offense will see very little of the field next week unless our defensive backfield looks better and we can create a better pass rush. I think teams like Purdue, Ohio State and others will take away the Braylon Edwards threat and make us beat them in other ways.

6-Mike Gawleck had a great game for the Illini with 16 tackles and two pass break ups; Justin Harrison had 12 tackles and a 72 yard interception and Detroiter,Anthony Thornhill, had 10 tackles.
Observations on the first half with the Illini, 10-17!

1-Well, we've had three red zones for 10 points while Illinois has three red zones for 17 points. One of our red zones that led to a field goal was created by our defense with a fumble recovery; two of their red zones were created off pass interceptions off Henne.

2-Henne is only 7 of 17 for 71 yards including two picks and one sack. Edwards has one catch for one yard while Avant and Hart have two each. We are 4 of 9 in 3rd down conversions and have 10 first downs for 222 yards in total offense. Hart has 15 carries for 98 yards and Martin has 3 carries for 7 yards and a TD.

3-Illinois has dominated time of possession by 6 and a half minutes with Beutjer completing 13 of 20 for 97 yards and one TD, no picks. Thomas has 13 carries for 50 yards, and Illinois is 3 of 10 in 3rd and 4th down conversions for 10 first downs.

4-Special Teams has been about even with only two kickoff returns, two field goals-one for each team and we have been forced into 3 punts while Illinois has punted once.

5-This game is an example of the frustrating, conservative approach our coaches use with no "killer instinct." We keep teams in the game after going ahead 10 to zero. Of course, even the coaches can't be blamed for Henne's stupid end zone pass that was picked off and Avant's drop for the other pick. If you remember, this Avant drop was reminiscent of the Notre Dame game.

6-Shazor has 9 tackles to lead our pathetic looking defense while Leon Hall has 3 pass break ups. We have no pass rush, and we are making Illinois offense look like they are actually good. We have very mediocre play at inside linebacker, there are several high school players who could come in now and start at either position. How in the world could we beat Purdue with this type of play?