I was up too late watching Illinois beat FCS Chattanooga 31-0 in a game that was even more lopsided than the score might indicate. It was 24-0 at the half, and the Illini worked on clock and played a lot of guys in the 4’th quarter.
So, I went with PT and a 3 mile (3.3) walk and then a commuter walk over lunch.
Back to the Illini: I am watching Virginia go toe to toe with Syracuse; this is a team that Illinois dominated. Evidently the Illini are not a joke any longer.
This was a game to savor; ok; it was a highly imperfect game. It started with 2 Illini turn overs; pass interception on the 2’nd play of the game, and a fumble on the next series. The latter lead to a Virginia field goal and 3-0 UVa lead.
After that, it was all Illinois, though the Illini were to turn it over two more times.
The game was sloppy, no doubt. UVa had a shot gun center snap go over the quarterback’s head, and a fumble on a punt return was recovered in the end zone for a 7-3 Illinois lead.
The Illini then took over; a couple of drives lead to a 21-3 lead in the 2’nd quarter.
Then the Illini, pinned at the 4 yard line, drove the ball 96 yards only to fumble on a completed pass on the 1 yard line. But it was still 21-3 at the half.
Illinois mostly stuck to the ground game in the second half, though they used their tight ends a bit, and in the 3’rd quarter, made a short field goal, while missing two more.
In the 4’th quarter, Virginia used a long quarterback run to get to the 5 with 1 minute left, and the fans still left were chanting for the Illini to hold the line..and they did!
Overall, the Illini dominated 394-222 in yards, despite slowing things down with the big lead. But mistakes kept the game “closer” on the score board than it really was. It really was a dominant win.
Other games: well, Navy got whipped, as I expected. Texas played Alabama to a 1 point loss, and Notre Dame lost to Marshall (underrated team..but still).
I caught the end of Illinois State vs. Valpo and ISU pulled it out 28-21. Pity the Illinois game was at 3 instead of 11: Harry and I could have had a double header.
No live football this weekend but a couple of Chiefs games on tap. Ok, I saw one last night; the Timberrattlers pitching kept the Chiefs at bay and allowed no hits through 7 innings; the Chiefs got 2 in the 8’th and even loaded the bases, but could only get one run. Still it was 2-1 going into the 9’th when the visitors got 2 more and won 4-1.
But there was at least a little bit of excitement. And it was fun to have the wife along.
TV football: I missed Illinois State getting run over by Wisconsin 38-0; I didn’t miss Navy getting outplayed by Delaware and losing 14-7. First 3 plays told the story: play one, Navy fumbled it to Delaware. Play 2: pass interference on Navy (obvious call). Play 3: Blue Hen touchdown.
I also watched Illinois lose to Indiana 23-20. The Illini were hurt by a bad call on a pass in the end zone
but still lead 20-16 with 2 minutes to go and the Hoosiers 75 yards away with no time outs. But the defense, which had switched to more blitzing to stop Indiana’s passing, played soft and allowed a march down the field.
Time and time again, the Illini made bad decisions and mistakes. Here, they passed on a field goal and went for it on 4’th down..leading by 1.
The positives is that the running game and short passing game looked decent for most of the night, and Virginia, the next opponent, gave up 170 rushing yards to FCS Richmond. But the problem will be Virginia’s passing: we don’t defend the pass well…not without blitzing. I still think this match up favors Illinois and I expect a hard fought win.
Saturday: PT, walk 1 (hard 5K), weights. Then a slow second walk after watching a football game on TV.
The first one tired me out a bit; I went pretty hard.
Pull ups: 12 sets of 5 with either 30 seconds rest or PT rest, push ups: 3 sets of 30 incline, 10 flat
bench press: I found that I still had back issues with my feet on plates; legs up is the best:
5 x 156, 4 x 156, 10 x 134, 10 x 134 curls 3 sets of 10
high incline: 3 sets of 10 x 94
Then came the 2 mile walk (after watching TV); first 1.5 was very pleasant ..some issues in the final 0.5
Today still some stuff with the back; I have to remember to NOT arch when I roll.
Went out for a walk intending 1-2 but felt good enough to do a slowish 5K; some issues in the final 0.5 miles or so.
Note: my Garmin recorded my watch stops to cross roads; those amounted to about 30 seconds or a 10 seconds per mile faster pace, but it does not matter.
After that, shoulder PT and deadlifts:
low: 10 x 134, 10 x 184 backed off the heavier sets: 10 x 234 4 inch
10 x 260 8 inch (easy)
My back won’t allow for true strength training; I am working to keep tone in my glutes and legs.
Back: sometimes I get the radiating pain on my back when I roll, and I think it is because I am used to arching my back when I roll. I need to work on that, and I need to figure out a nice posture for my downhill walking. Flat walking and uphill walking is progressing nicely.
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.
Saturday: saw the Illini dominate Northwestern 47-14. I figured the 6.5 point favorite Illini would win and cover the spread, but I had it something like 17-3. But NW had unforced turnovers and made unforced mistakes; this was very much unlike their play in recent years.
And 47-14 ..the game was actually worse. It was 28-0 right off the bat and 37-7 at the half. The Illini dominated every single phase of the game.
I treated my wife and nephew to Colonnades Club tickets as it was rather cold. I watched the first 3 quarters from my usual seats, and then climbed to the upper deck to get a sunset shot, then down to the horseshoe for the final few minutes.
Then we drove to Indianapolis to return her nephew and then take in the Buccaneers vs Colts game. The Colts lead 24-14 at the half and appeared to be on their way for a 3’rd quarter score, but a strip sack changed momentum.
The Bucs got to 31-24 before the Colts tied it on a long drive, featuring the run game they went away from. But with 2 minutes to go, Tampa drove in for the wining score with 22 seconds to go (seems familiar)
A long kick return gave the Colts some faint hope, but a final desperation pass was intercepted.
I admit that I didn’t think much of the Bradley vs. Howard game coming up; I knew that Howard was a very weak MEAC team that had not won much..if at all over the past few seasons. Then: Howard raced to a 19-3 lead, built the lead to 22 points in the second half and had the lead at 18 with 1:40 or so to go in the game and ended up winning 76-64…in a game that was not nearly as close as the final score made it look. So much for taking it for granted.
Then in the evening..we were at a hotel while the pain in our remodeled bathroom dried up..I watched the second half of the Texas vs Kansas football game. I had started watching Notre Dame at Virginia but the Irish had that one well in hand…and I saw, via ESPN, what was happening in the Texas game, so I switched it there. Kansas lead 14-0 before Texas tied it..then a 1 minute sequence in the second half happened:
Second half: Texas score to get it to 35-21; Kansas then ran it down the Longhorns’ throat to move to 42-21 But then Texas appeared to rally; it was 42-35 going into the 4’th.
Then came the surprise ending. Kansas got a TD drive to go up 49-35. Texas got a blocked punt then cut it to one score 49-42.
Then a late drive…Kansas intercepts with 1:07 to go to stop it..but Texas has 3 time outs. A weak punt gives Texas great field position and they tie it with 22 seconds to go. Then came the overtime:
The fans may have left the game before the overtime:
Texas took the lead but a 15 yard penalty gave Kansas a closer starting position for their drive. Then run it in to cut it to 56-55 and then…go for 2.
And so some unexpected drama went on. Note: ok, a 1-8 team beats a 4-5 team does not sound THAT shocking…but Kansas over Texas in FOOTBALL does. Go figure.
Now, if I had to rank “my” football teams:
Notre Dame; not even close
Illinois …yes, Illinois would beat Texas right now.
And my only regret..besides Navy not winning, is that I didn’t get to watch Illinois beat Minnesota 14-6. The Illini are no longer a joke; if you under-estimate them you could be in trouble, even if you are a good team.
But..Illinois is not at a level to handle the opponent’s A game…not yet.
Yesterday: left about 7:30, which was somewhat too early, but not a LOT too early. Parked at the White Field (cheap Stub-hub parking pass); got a deal on “preferred seating” via Stubhub too.
The drive, with brief stops, is 4 hour-ish each way.
Ok, the game: ND won as expected 34-6, though Navy lead 3-0 after one, it was tied at 3 until 3 minutes to go in the first half and also had a long, time consuming drive in the 3’rd to cut the lead to 17-6.
But ultimately, ND was too much.
Ultimately, it was a great experience, except for the score.
Note: what really struck me was how full the place was 30 minutes to kickoff. At Illinois, the game itself isn’t that full; 30 minutes to kick off it is quite empty.
Last shot: teams stood with each other for each other’s song. Class act.
Ok, this was a Big Ten game where two evenly matched team played hard..and reasonably well; no turnovers, few penalties.
So, from this fan’s perspective, the game was fun to watch..save the final result.
But as far as the game went: Rutgers outplayed us for most of the game. The Illini did tie the the game 7-7 off a nice touchdown pass; best of the season:
Rutgers took the lead 10-7 after a drive but the Illini countered with a drive followed by a very nice ..touchdown pass to the tight end..
And so it was 14-10 Illini at the half. I told my buddy that I had no idea as to who would win the football game.
Defenses ruled in the 3’rd quarter (Rutgers missed a field goal into the wind) and in the 4’th, Rutgers excellent punting paid off. The Illini were pinned deep. Rutgers ran some nifty quarterback keeps and hit some passes to take a 17-14 lead and another running dominated drive ended in a short field goal; it was 20-14 with just over 3 minutes to play.
The Illini managed to rally but the running plays consumed time…and it was just over 1:3x to go with 3’rd down and 2. An up the middle run gained 1.5 yards. But on 4’th down, a toss sweep was stuffed in the backfield and Rutgers took over, converted a 3’rd down on a spectacular quarterback keep and ran out the clock.
Navy 20 Tulsa 17
The night before, I caught this one on TV. And Navy came away with a hard fought 20-17 win over the Golden Hurricane…and had some huge plays.
Navy made a 46 yard field goal.
On this play, the Navy defensive back did not give up. He denied the Tulsa WR a touchdown..and it turns out Navy held Tulsa to a field goal on that possession.
Navy also got a lucky…ok, maybe “make your own luck” interception which denied Tulsa the touchdown
So, Navy played hard but had some luck.
Final shot: Rutgers field goal drive to seal the win.
I watched Illinois beat Penn State 20-18. Ok, this went to 9 overtimes, with overtimes 3-9 being a single 2 point conversion attempt. It was 10-10 in regulation and the teams traded 5 unsuccessful attempts at a 2 point conversion. Then in the 8’th, both teams made them.
Statistically, SAVE THE TURNOVERS, Illinois dominated the game, running almost at will between the 20’s. This was the mirror image of the Wisconsin game. But at the end of regulation, it was 10-10.
But this time, Illinois made the plays.
After that, I switched on ESPN+ to watch the conclusion of the Illinois State vs no. 15 South Dakota and the Redbirds held on to win, 20-14, making a stop on downs with 2 minutes to go (at the 4 yard line) and then getting an interception to seal the win.