Well, after this unexpectedly convincing 38-6 win (and the Illini ran out the clock at the Wyoming 14, passing up the opportunity for another score), I found myself nitpicking the team’s performance:
“well, Wyoming ran it well in spots and had success on the quarterback bootleg….and the field goal unit needs work..(2 misses, and a less than crisp snap on one of them)”
When I found myself doing that..that is a good place to be in.
I honestly don’t know how good Wyoming is or isn’t; they won their bowl last year but lost a ton of talent and had a new quarterback. And it was HOT…they had to be dying out there (Illini sideline is in the shade).
Many of the fans escaped from the upper deck and plopped themselves where ever they saw something empty..glad I had my mask..but that added to the heat.
Back to the game: the experience in walking over I described in a previous post. To be able to walk to the stadium from the garage and not be in pain was a blessing that I really enjoyed.
Illinois started out like a ball of fire: a big kick return put them on the 48; then two plays later (38 yard run, 14 yard pass) saw the Illini up 7-0.
They returned to being sort of normal for a while…and Wyoming eventually pieced together a drive that gave them 3 points. Second quarter saw the Illini defense smother the Cowboys and a touchdown and a field goal right before the half: 17-3.
At the time, I said this:
And they did…but not before the Cowboys got an impressive drive to cut it to 17-6. After that..total domination with the back up quarterback and skill position players getting a final TD to push it to 38-6…and passed on a final score.
At ten minutes into the video, check out the run (runner rolled over a body and kept going) and the devastating pancake block by no. 54.
Upshot: ESPN’s computer LOVED the performance by the Illini; the expected win total climbed from 4.5 to 5.9, and many of the games where the Illini were underdogs have become toss ups.
Interesting that the Illini got more credit than Northwestern did for the latter’s more impressive win over Nebraska.
I honestly don’t know what will happen. My guess is that 6-6 sounds about right (though 7-5 or 8-4 are not out of the question…ok, neither is 5-7). I need to see what the Illini do in the next two weeks.
Sweep: I’ll think 7-8 victories. Split: I’ll think “ok, a bowl is possible, even likely. Get swept: “same old stuff.”
It is my OPINION that Indiana, Virginia, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Purdue Northwestern are all toss ups, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State are likely losses and FCS UT-Chat is a likely win. Win 3 of the 7 toss up games and the likely win gets us to 5. Win 4 of the 7 sends us to a bowl.