Illinois 31, UConn 23 POSTGAME

Despite all the doom and gloom here, it was one game. Penalties suck. Not sure why Illinois gets the same penalties year after year, despite who the coach is. Not sure what Bonner did. Barker was obvious, to say the least. The OL had a bad game. One. Peters made a big mistake, though it was a good play by the defender. He also threw four TD's and never panicked. We also had a late third down conversion to Sidney that was big and something we did not do last year. That play was huge. We were flat and missing players, on the fracking road. Their frosh QB, threw some dimes out there and they needed them. Despite all that, we won. There was a lot of good out there as well. It is obvious the WR corps is much better than last year. Stampley continues to make mistakes though and if he doesn't get it together... Defense front seven did well. Secondary is banged up or on suspension for a half. We need our starters back. Nice pick by Harding, at the end. This game will be a good one for them to learn from.
 
I’ll try to take a stab at this:

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First shot looks like it is going to be targeting for sure. However, Just before this the WR was higher and SG aimed for chest/shoulder height.

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This shows the WR kept dropping but what you can’t tell is SG actually has turned his head and made initial contact with his shoulder and his head actually hit the WRs shoulder first.

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Eventually, their helmets do hit but they are side to side. I don’t think it’s targeting but I GUESS it could be considered 50/50.

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Another look. Make your own judgement because when slowed down, I can sort-of see either way.
Guys, there are two targeting rules and announcers always screw them up. For one, there is no helmet to helmet rule. That is/was an NFL rule. 1. You can't forcibly hit a defenseless player in the head/neck area with pretty much any part of the body, not just the helmet. Not an issue in this case as the receiver has turned into a runner and, in fact, is crouching to defend himself. 2. You can't forcibly hit a player anywhere with the crown of your helmet. That is the issue here. Yes, there are plenty of tackles in a game like this where the player's head doesn't hit the opponent so no targeting, and maybe the rule will change, but I don't think it will be changed to not call this a penalty.
 
For reference, here is a play in the third quarter that didn’t even get a LITTLE consideration to see if it was targeting.

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This was head down, crown of the helmet making initial contact with our guys’ helmet.

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An obvious head down helmet to helmet targeting.

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It’s hard to tell here but our guys’ head is in the middle of an obvious whiplash.

This was a huge miss by the refs.
I didn't think this was enough of a forcible hit to be called targeting.
 
pretty terrified of how poorly we ran the ball against UConn. That was supposed to be our strength. If it doesn't get figured out we probably lose most of the games going forward. Our defense is not good enough to survive many short drives by our offense.
Two responses to that...1) they stacked the box; 2) and more important than 1, we didn't have our best player, Reggie Corbin.
 
If we ever want this program to actually be something, I mean a real something, we have to increase our overall talent pool. If we want to increase our overall talent pool, we need to do more than be proud of another bowl season spent watching everyone else play. That’s the way it is.

The stumble through the UConn win will stop that, 100%. If we play in the back half of the secondary in conference play the way we did yesterday (And by the way, there were plenty of kids running free in Akron game too...), we won’t win 6 games. Honestly, we may not win 5. We put that type of win-loss record, you will see kids drop.
We just a couple weeks ago got a commit from a 4* WR, we have a 5* TE sitting out with 3 years of eligibility left and our uber-fast 4* CB should be back in full health next year. So there is significant help on the way.
 
OFL Supplier, BU's Brylcreem
Virginia
Guys, there are two targeting rules and announcers always screw them up. For one, there is no helmet to helmet rule. That is/was an NFL rule. 1. You can't forcibly hit a defenseless player in the head/neck area with pretty much any part of the body, not just the helmet. Not an issue in this case as the receiver has turned into a runner and, in fact, is crouching to defend himself. 2. You can't forcibly hit a player anywhere with the crown of your helmet. That is the issue here. Yes, there are plenty of tackles in a game like this where the player's head doesn't hit the opponent so no targeting, and maybe the rule will change, but I don't think it will be changed to not call this a penalty.
Its my understanding the interpretation is supposed to account for the other player lowering their position at the last moment. I would argue that if the defender was not heading down - the head would have been in front of the receiver (head across the bow) and a shoulder tackle would have been the result. You have to account for the defender lowering their head and causing the contact.
 
Lovie basically said in his press conference after the UConn game that there were certain things that needed to be cleaned up regarding the performance of the Fighting Illini. He didn't itemize of course, but one of those items is the tendency of Brandon Peters to focus on Ricky Smalling and try to force the ball in to him instead of going through his progressions and throwing to the open receiver. I happen to believe that Peters is talented and will show progress in this regard. More troubling, at least to me, is the woeful pass defense from our linebackers and secondary. This is an area of real concern. I know we had players missing due to injuries and so forth, but that doesn't fully explain how a third-string true freshman quarterback from UConn could pick us apart. This has been a weak spot during the past few seasons, and opposing coaches will continue to feast on it unless/until improvements are made.
According to the box score I checked, the UConn QB had 2 INTs, -21 yes rushing, no TDs and a QB rating of 36. Picked us apart is a big exaggeration.
 
The play by play guy was a homer but Corey Chavous was well prepared and insightful - better than most color people on Big Ten network.
 
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Eliminate the stupid penalties and turnovers and the UCONN game was not that close. I was sitting next to BWBW on the 50 yard one in row 2 and didn’t see why they got penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct . . . TWICE! UConn played well above their weight class across the board, and given the additional motivation of the loss of the coach’s mother, it’s easy to see why they came out smokin’

We need to figure out pass coverage, because that frosh QB went 21/31 for 275 yards and Mr A. Brown (was Antonio Brown in Hartford yesterday???) had 7 catches for 81 yards. We couldn’t cover a bed yesterday . . .

For those ready to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge after yesterday’s game . . . bye bye. You’re going to miss a fun season.

Edit: Forgot to add, good guys by 10 this week.
Their QB had 2 INTs and no TDs, plus -21 yes rushing, for a QB rating of 36, not exactly stellar. Plus, their D scored one TD and our O put the D in a bad position with that early 2nd Q fumble.
 
Doesn't really matter if the celebration rule is popular if the refs think it's warranted their going to slap a 15yd penalty on you. Now that's the rub for me this can be interpreted differently from ref to ref. However, once the first flag was thrown the Illini should have got the message.
I don't get all the squakin' about the game. The defense gave up 10 yards rushing. Ten! I don't care who you're playing that's well done. The secondary was struggling i agree and could struggle all year, in my opinion. Depth is not there.
Agree some costly turnovers on offense not much of a run game. Need a healthy Corbin back. But i'm also seeing a team that if you stack the box can throw some, which wasn't there last year.
I think 4-5 wins could be a definite possibility this year, however, next year is when i think more should come. Actuaaly, i haven't seen enough of this years team bit i think the next 2 weeks will provide some information.
 
It upsets me to see all the penalties. Talent or not, no reason we can't play smarter and stop shooting ourselves in the foot.
 
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I think the squawking is a result of some of us hoping we'll get to 6 wins this season. That didn't look like a 6-win team out there on Saturday. Fortunately, as others have pointed out, a bad game now and then is not unusual for a 6 win team, so there's still some hope. But if last week's game was the average performance we expect to see the remainder of the season, we're looking at only a couple more wins at best.

I think it was a down day, and we'll see some better football this weekend. And I'm still thinking 6 wins is possible. One of those wins needs to be vs. Purdue.
 
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BU:1 Trash cans:0
Chicago
Based on that game, I still think we have 6 wins in us this season, but it won't be a comfortable 6. We'll have to claw and scratch our way there.
 
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Its my understanding the interpretation is supposed to account for the other player lowering their position at the last moment. I would argue that if the defender was not heading down - the head would have been in front of the receiver (head across the bow) and a shoulder tackle would have been the result. You have to account for the defender lowering their head and causing the contact.
I have not heard that and would be surprised if it is true. They are trying to improve player safety, so I would be surprised if they were trying to create loopholes.
 
I think the squawking is a result of some of us hoping we'll get to 6 wins this season. That didn't look like a 6-win team out there on Saturday. Fortunately, as others have pointed out, a bad game now and then is not unusual for a 6 win team, so there's still some hope. But if last week's game was the average performance we expect to see the remainder of the season, we're looking at only a couple more wins at best.

I think it was a down day, and we'll see some better football this weekend. And I'm still thinking 6 wins is possible. One of those wins needs to be vs. Purdue.
Purdue will be tough... Sindelar can really throw and they have Rondale Moore plus good freshman receivers. We would have to jam receivers and get to qb..think Brohm is too smart to let that happen. Their off line is not very good but good enough for quick throws. Think we need Rutgers, Nebraska, Minnesota, Northwestern (3 of 4).
 
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All teams lay stinkers once in awhile. The fact we did so on the road and still got the win, shows improvement.

Hopefully we'll play a better team on their stinker day and steal one we're not expecting. (12 Oct would be nice, for example.)

I'm just glad the stinker was the second game rather than the first. If we had sucked against Akron, the faint of heart on this board would all be in hospice, and we'd no longer be 'the 17'.
 
OFL Supplier, BU's Brylcreem
Virginia
I have not heard that and would be surprised if it is true. They are trying to improve player safety, so I would be surprised if they were trying to create loopholes.
I wouldn't call that a loophole (and maybe it only applies to the NFL) rather a reasonable reason to not call it targeting. If you are lunging or diving to make a tackle and your general target area is the belt to low numbers - why should you be penalized if the offensive player lowers his head - either intentional or otherwise?
 
Don't feel great, but don't feel bad. We won on the road with depleted DB's and depleted RB's. We won on the road with multiple undisciplined penalties. We won on the road with 3 score changing turnovers (2 fumbles in FG territory and throwing a pick 6). The following is just rambling thoughts on what I have read here and is JMHO.

Offense -- UConn scouts our offense and they see 3rd-6th RB's. They see a transfer QB with 2 transfer WR's with limited time in the offense. The rest of our WR's have a rep of poor hands. Our TE's are not known as pass catchers. So, they commit to stopping the run. They don't really stack the box. Rod Smith's offense doesn't really allow for putting 8+ defenders in the box. But, they jam or blitz the line with 5 or 6 guys on almost every play. (Interestingly, the screen for a TD was one of the few plays they only rushed 4.) They do this all game. Even when we are scoring on them. Our front 5 are going against 5 or 6 at the line on most plays and we still get 130 yds rushing (with backups and almost 20 yds lost on 2 fumbles). Some on here wanted to see smash mouth football to defeat this. Sorry. Rod Smith is just not ever going to do that. Interestingly, he didn't really change his approach. When we went down 0-13, he had 7 runs and 7 passes. When we scored 24 straight he had 12 runs and 13 passes. Very much like Peters' game so far. He has only been in our offense for (what?), 6 weeks, and hasn't really been in a college game for 19 months. Very pleased with what he has given us.

Defense -- Lovie went pretty vanilla. He needed to help his secondary as much as possible and, I imagine, felt pretty comfortable with his front 4. So, he relied on them (with a few LB plays thrown in). They more than validated his decision. We need to remember what Lovie's defense is. Bend, don't break and create TO's. UConn had 4 offensive scores. 3 were FG's. Bend, don't break. They had a Freshman QB we couldn't game film for. Also, his leading yardage receiver was another Freshman. I would imagine those 2 have been playing pitch and catch all summer.

The Pick 6 -- This was an interesting play. First, offensively, it is 2nd and long and the corner is playing 10+ yards off the ball. Peters makes the right call and throws a quick hitch as soon as he gets the ball. Complete it for 4 or 5 and see if the WR can get more. Create a 3rd and short. The receiver runs the wrong route. You could see the ball was way behind the receiver. The WR stops where he is supposed to and he either comes back to the ball for the catch or is in a position to break up the int. Defensively, I can't decide if this was really lucky or really good. The replay shows the DB was sprinting out to cover the flat on the snap. No reading of the QB. Either he was supposed to cover that area and was hustling out and was in the right place at the right time; he was guessing and was really lucky; or their DC had seen something and it was called. Probably the first.

The negatives, (players out, penalties, TO's) are changeable. Remains to be scene how much they get fixed. We are 2-0.
 
I wouldn't call that a loophole (and maybe it only applies to the NFL) rather a reasonable reason to not call it targeting. If you are lunging or diving to make a tackle and your general target area is the belt to low numbers - why should you be penalized if the offensive player lowers his head - either intentional or otherwise?
Because they are trying to make the game safer and they don't want hits like that. I know there are plenty of calls unrelated to targeting which would be no calls if the opponent didn't move in an unpredictable manner. Dems the breaks.
 
Lovie needs to remind his players that when they enter the end zone with the ball in their hands, that they need to behave as if they have been there before.
Those two personal fouls were atrocious.
I must be in the minority. But I don't care. Let those dudes have fun. High fiving one fan and a three second dance is nothing to get worked up about. We have done worse! and not been flagged this year alone. Also, our kicker has a powerful foot. So instead of kicking the ball out of the endzone, the returner takes a knee in the endzone. So what. Same result.
As long as they don't disrespect the game and the other team, let them show their personalities. Don't try and make them someone/thing they are not.

When Kofi dunks all over EJ's head this year, I don't want him to act like he as dunked a basketball 1,000 times. I want him to look at EJ like he is going to eat him like a cheeseburger and roar like some Japanize karate cartoon!
 
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