We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but the rest of the schedule are ALL winnable games. If we stick to what we do best (clearly, pounding the football on the ground), I would have us favored in all of those games, regardless of records. A bowl game is still possible.
Looked like a possible concussion late in the overtimes after the back of his slammed into the ground on a tackle. He appeared unconscious for a second too which was scary. Really unfortunate how banged up he has been especially considering how amazing he has been when healthy. Serious question but has there ever been an Illinois RB with multiple 200 yard games in a season?
I don't know about others, but the more the game played, the bigger of a Pedifile U I felt he was. Almost made me turn off the sound...Just like his playing days Orlovsky is all over the place as a commentator. Sometimes he spot on and others I'm wondering what he is talking about.
I was there a few years ago with a group of alumni from, er, my wife's alma mater. There were a couple of guys sitting behind our group talking all kinds of smack, but they got quieter as Penn State gave up a TD... then another.I noticed when watching on TV - a fair number of empty seats in Happy Valley.
Brown is fineMy takeaways from this game:
(1) Tony Peterson has (rightly) earned seen some ire about his play-calling this year. He did a great job on Saturday. Focused heavily on the run and the line designs bludgeoned Penn State throughout the game.
(2) It's really tough for me to assess the abilities of the WRs/TEs on the roster because the QB play has been that bad. That said, it seems like there are numerous plays where there are open Illinois players down the field. Barker had a nice bounce back this week (via PFF grade) but it's tough to trust much of the grading because the QBs are doing so little in the passing game.
(3) So many fun rushing stats from the game. Some that most of you have seen, like Brown rushing for more yards at Penn State than any previous running back. Others are just as fun: Illinois had the 64th best running game (159.9 yards/game) going into the game. Now they are 44th-best (184.5 yards/game). That's a massive leap for past the mid-way point of the season. Went from 58th to 48th in yards per carry. Need to live in the high-100s/low-200's to be successful the rest of the year.
(4) Moving Palczewski to RG was a great decision and produced his best combination of run and pass block grades of the year (best pass blocking grade by a mile). He needs to be there for the rest of the season. Badovinac had his best game of the year by a lot (A LOT). Probably best combo guard play for Illinois in a long time. Did the staff do something different with the guards this week?
(5) It was only 20-ish snaps and was almost exclusively for run blocking but Barlev was excellent. Could be an important piece to the 2022 and beyond offensive line. Offensive line next year could be Pearl - Barlev - Kreutz - Pihlstrom - Slaughter
(6) Walters is a revelation. SP+ rankings has the Illinois defense as the 60th-best unit. Last year they were 88th. Maybe we are overreacting because we were so sour on Lovie at the end that even average defensive play was going to impress us regardless. Remaining opponents are ranked 93rd, 27th, 86th, and 108th for offensive SP+
(7) Good bounce back for Roderick Perry. He's a difference maker for the run defense when he's excelling.
(8) No more starting linebackers for the rest of the year but Tolson and Barnes have been commendable as replacements. Tolson had the second best defensive grade (behind Tony Adams).
(1) Our quarterback play is setting back the game of football at least 70 years. Worst of my lifetime. People are seriously considering a guy who was a really really bad in D2. That's how bad things have gotten.
(2) Josh McCray is a pleasant surprise as a freshmen running back. On pace for 800+ rushing yards! The negative? He really struggles in pass blocking. Maybe it's not that big of a deal because Illinois is now running the ball so much that (1) he doesn't need to pass block and (2) they don't have to worry about letting the other team know they are running the ball when he comes in because they are going to run the ball regardless. He has the size to block but he's just making bad decisions and is struggling on technique. My guess is next year he'll become passable and provide more versatility when he's in but for now the staff is going to have to live with his weaknesses.
(3) Injuries are just ravaging the roster. Let's hope Brown can come back soon and Peters stays healthy for the rest of the year with Artur likely not back for a while.