The scoreboard said it all in Champaign. Northwestern 29, Illini 10. And it was just that, a very ugly loss. Here are the final thoughts of the game before the Illini figure out where they are headed for their bowl game.
The Illini could not stop the run and it wasn’t from a lack of stacking the box(saw a lot of comments on Twitter about that). Andrew Marty had his way in the sloppy and slippery conditions on Zeppke Field. His numbers on the ground by himself were 123 yards on 30 attempts. The Northwestern run game was blazing this afternoon. Drake Anderson on 23 attempts for 87 yards. As a team, the Wildcats had 378 yards on the ground on 65 yards.
Pat Fitzgerald came in with a game plan, and he executed it well. It was a pretty poor performance from the Illini defense which they looked like they somewhat reverted back to where they were earlier in the year.
Moving off the defensive struggles, the Illini had two of their best starters on the bench with injury in Brandon Peters and Josh Imatorbhebhe. Matt Robinson got the nod for today’s game while Casey Washington filled in for Josh. Washington had a great game and a career-high in his first start for the Illini going 4 for 5 with 55 yards. Matt Robinson I felt didn’t do his job the way he should have, he made some very poor decisions but it isn’t all on Robinson. I felt Rod Smith did not set him up for success, there were some very questionable play calls such as calling a run between the tackles on a pivotal 3rd and 12.
Moving off all the negative, the Illini are going bowling for the first time in a very long time. The Illini finished the season 6-6 beating expectations, including my own. I had the Illini only winning 5 games after the EMU loss at home in week three. We get about 15 important practices. We will learn more than likely Sunday what destination we are going for the bowl game.
I will have a separate blog full of stats of the game as well as on-field pictures from today’s contest.