Illinois 30, Nebraska 22 Postgame

#176      
ELITE tackling. I had the same observation 5-6 times when a NEB offensive player was 1:1 and in a position to break something big. The tackling fundamentals were on full display.
agree

that was one of the most obvious differences with the defense this year vs those in recent years - much better tackling

also - no stupid penalties like late hits or offsides / neutral zone
 
#177      
Johnson was a <50% passer at a D2 school. We need to pump the brakes a little on his potential. I'm hoping Sitkowski stays healthy and Peters' injury isn't a broken collarbone. Sitkowski's 2020 passer efficiency rating is within shouting distance of Peters' 2019 season. You can envision him taking another step with another year of experience, better team around him, and good coaching staff. A lot of opportunities for wins in the next five weeks. Need to keep Sitkowski healthy.
We do still need Peters healthy, but the one thing I like about Sitkowsky playing a lot this year --- is that it will pay dividends over the following two seasons as well. Sitkowsky as a 3-year QB could be really nice.
 
#178      
Not sure how accurate, but "Covers" website has Hart, Perry, Peters, Woods as day to day. Not convinced Peters doesn't have a broken clavicle until official info from team.
 
#181      
Forgottonia
Speculation on Peters injury has mostly been a broken collarbone. But he would not have been on the sidelines if he had a broken collarbone would he?
 
#183      
Johnson was a <50% passer at a D2 school. We need to pump the brakes a little on his potential. I'm hoping Sitkowski stays healthy and Peters' injury isn't a broken collarbone. Sitkowski's 2020 passer efficiency rating is within shouting distance of Peters' 2019 season. You can envision him taking another step with another year of experience, better team around him, and good coaching staff. A lot of opportunities for wins in the next five weeks. Need to keep Sitkowski healthy.

Yeah, probably (pumping the brakes on Johnson). Just have a hunch that he may have it. We'll see (maybe).

As to Sitkowski, great add by the staff. And while I stated he isn't great, he's good and he's got the physical attributes one wants at QB. Plus, he's got a lot of experience. Having gone through adversity helps in my book. He played very well in relief. That he has 3 years of eligibility is flippin' awesome. He's gonna get better and the ceiling is pretty high. Great add by Peterson & Bielema!
 
#184      
If i'm doing the math right, Epstein had 1 run for 45 yards and 15 runs for 30 yards... with just three of the carries in the second half.
I think the heat had a lot to do with the RB situation. We kept fresh legs out there. Troy gave everyone a turn. We rushed for 167 yards on 48 attempts. The stats of the game are deceiving as they had more yards but we won the TOP by almost 10 minutes. You take away that 75 yard run and their YPC turns into barely 2. We dominated them on D as Knox said, our tackling improved greatly. We did not miss many tackles. We mostly shut down the running lanes as they had 212 total rushing yards before subtracting lost yards and Martinez had 148. When is the last time we held a Power 5 school to less than 100 yards from their running backs? That is the biggest improvement I saw was the run stoppage at the LOS. They had 52 yards of lost yards. They did win the first downs by 1 but that was because they were pressing in the 4th quarter. That 8 minute drive was pure Wisky-like. If we did not allow that 75 yard run, this game would have been over sooner. This linebacker core was the most active I have seen in years. They were flying all over the place and the blitz schemes were a thing of beauty. We missed one more sack opportunity as Martinez let the ball get to a RB as we were taking him to the ground. 5 sacks total. For a guy like Martinez who scampers, that was a good number. We do need to clean a few things up like a couple of blown coverage plays by the backs but its not like last year where blown coverage plays were common. Overall, a solid first game against a similar opponent. Sitkowski will have the advantage of working with the first team all this week so Troy will put a plan in to utilize his strengths. That pass to Deuce was a thing of beauty. I think we will see more play action under Sitkowki as teams will key against the run. IW is a stud receiver who will only get better. Same with Deuce. Both elite athletes who will add to the offense. Let get a win next week as UTSA is not a pushover. I said it before, this could be a 8 win team. Not changing my 8-4 record yet.
 
#185      
Gurnee
Art's stats the last 2 yrs were pretty good - 65% completion % and showed alot of improvement in taking care of the ball, vs his freshman year getting thrown to the B1G wolves. He looks like a classic case of a player benefitting from a change in scenery, not being recruited by the Schiano regime.

Has all the attributes for a high performing QB for us. Excited to see him develop further into a really good (to great?) QB for us.
 
#188      
Champaign
agree

that was one of the most obvious differences with the defense this year vs those in recent years - much better tackling

also - no stupid penalties like late hits or offsides / neutral zone

Only 3 total penalties all game for 40 yards with one being an unnecessary roughness after a TD. I doubt BB will be happy about that one but otherwise a really clean game. Nebraska with 5 for 67.
 
#190      
Decatur, IL
I think the heat had a lot to do with the RB situation. We kept fresh legs out there. Troy gave everyone a turn. We rushed for 167 yards on 48 attempts. The stats of the game are deceiving as they had more yards but we won the TOP by almost 10 minutes. You take away that 75 yard run and their YPC turns into barely 2. We dominated them on D as Knox said, our tackling improved greatly. We did not miss many tackles. We mostly shut down the running lanes as they had 212 total rushing yards before subtracting lost yards and Martinez had 148. When is the last time we held a Power 5 school to less than 100 yards from their running backs? That is the biggest improvement I saw was the run stoppage at the LOS. They had 52 yards of lost yards. They did win the first downs by 1 but that was because they were pressing in the 4th quarter. That 8 minute drive was pure Wisky-like. If we did not allow that 75 yard run, this game would have been over sooner. This linebacker core was the most active I have seen in years. They were flying all over the place and the blitz schemes were a thing of beauty. We missed one more sack opportunity as Martinez let the ball get to a RB as we were taking him to the ground. 5 sacks total. For a guy like Martinez who scampers, that was a good number. We do need to clean a few things up like a couple of blown coverage plays by the backs but its not like last year where blown coverage plays were common. Overall, a solid first game against a similar opponent. Sitkowski will have the advantage of working with the first team all this week so Troy will put a plan in to utilize his strengths. That pass to Deuce was a thing of beauty. I think we will see more play action under Sitkowki as teams will key against the run. IW is a stud receiver who will only get better. Same with Deuce. Both elite athletes who will add to the offense. Let get a win next week as UTSA is not a pushover. I said it before, this could be a 8 win team. Not changing my 8-4 record yet.
I'm still trying to figure out who Troy is.
 
#195      
Colorado Springs, CO
Speculation on Peters injury has mostly been a broken collarbone. But he would not have been on the sidelines if he had a broken collarbone would he?
Whether it's fractured collarbone, AC sprain, or anything else, it's unlikely they were going to do much on Saturday.

If it's broken, they either treat it conservatively or go put in a plate and surgery wouldn't happen the same day.
 
#196      
My favorite quote that I read this morning:

‘‘Just bang-bang, you know? Football happens. Just bang-bang-bang,’’ Sitkowski said of the interaction with Tannor. ‘‘I had to get up, regroup myself and focus on the next play. . . .

‘‘I was ready to go, man. I was fired up. I was real fired up. When you get hit like that, you know you’re alive.’’

Chicago Sun-Times

It's fun to be the first game of the college football season:

"Blake Hayes is officially on Heisman watch."

It’s Only Week 0 But We Already Have The Punt Of The Year In College Football
 
#197      
Billings, MT
I'm no doctor, but that kind of hit (arm pinned to ground and body on him sliding up as the arm can't) seems to lead to an AC tear. Hoping for the best for him.
Judging by the way he was holding his arm coming off the field, my guess is it was a shoulder dislocation.
 
#198      
hulk hogan wrestling GIF
 
#199      
Paducah, Ky
Great start to the new season and great debut win for coach BB.......

As has been said earlier in this thread........

1.....defense actually tackling and defending the whole field....
2.....special teams was ELITE.......
3.....timeouts used intelligently.....the time out in the second half for the defense to regain their wind was awesome.....
4.....coaching looked like it had a game plan and followed it throughout the game......
5.....Sitkowski was ready and played a great game.....
6....hope injuries are recoverable soon and not season ending.....
7....IW played great and made a great cut for TD....
8....LF made a great TD catch.......

It was a great day to be an Illini fan..........An Illini victory interspersed with 420 and gin & soda made me on cloud 9.......
 
#200      
Cincinnati, OH
Positives
1. Run defense was infinitely better than the previous years. Nebraska, particularly Martinez, has given Illinois fits in the past. The 75-yard run play was a killer but Illinois only allowed 4.1 ypc even with the long run. No other Cornhusker RB averaged more than 3.3 ypc.
2. The first drive of the second half was a work of art. Most satisfying offensive drive since.....? Winning drive against MSU in 2019? Finally drive against tOSU in 2007?
3. Good to see Luke Ford unshackled from a poor-fitting offense. Barker didn't get involved but I'm confident he will next week. It's been a struggle to get traditional athletes at Illinois since Zook left. Seemed obvious to have an offensive system leaning into TE play. We finally have one. Ford also impressed as a run blocker.
4. This game was the least amount of points allowed by Illinois against a Big Ten team since last year at Rutgers. If you take Rutgers out of the running? 2019 against Purdue. Take out Rutgers and games played in a downpour? You have to go back to 2015 against Nebraska (G-Mo game).
5. I said this in another post but it bears repeat. Sitkowski posted the best QBR rating for an Illinois QB since 2015 against Kent State (Lunt against Kent State). Best Illinois QB performance in six years. What a game by him.
6. Very few penalties. Nice benefit of having a number of experienced starters.
7. PFF had Jake Hansen as the highest ranked defender by a lot. He really lifts the floor of the defense and softens the blow of losing Hart. He keeps having weeks like this and he'll be an NFL draft pick.
8. Was really geeked to see the defensive line create pressure throughout the game. Randolph is going to be good. Coleman with a timely sack. Perry really not only elevates the run defense but also can generate pressure. Newton had some hurries. Great job all around.
9. Special teams is going to be such a weapon this year. Only blemish was a missed 55-yarder that had plenty of leg.
10. Refreshing that Brown was dinged up and I was comfortable with Epstein and Love carrying the rushing game. Happy for Epstein to come back and provide such a lift for the run game in week 1.
11. It's only one game but feeling a little better about the corners. Witherspoon's play is going to make teams consider looking more towards Tony Adams' side. Nicholson played fantastic and might have been the best Illinois corner today. There were a number of plays where Martinez had time and couldn't find an open receiver.
12. I know it's easy to dunk on Lovie right now. I appreciate that he walked into a tough situation and helped improve the talent on the roster. Bielema and his staff now come in and are able to harness the personnel to a better-fitting system. Bielema completely out-coached Frost. Better coaching and excellent special teams can create wider margins for success.



Negatives
1. Martinez made Illinois pay for some blown coverage (and failed to capitalize on others). It was bound to happen with a new scheme. Gotta minimize these. Probably not a big concern next week (UTSA was 99th in passing yard/game last year) but it will be a concern against Virginia (first road game, UVA was 47th in passing yards/game last year).
2. Guards struggled badly to start the game. Coaching staff started making swaps as the game progressed. Palczewski and Badinovac were especially bad pass blocking on the right side. This offense will go as the running game goes. Need to find some success against UTSA.
3. Please be healthy for a couple of weeks. It goes without saying but it's not sustainable to lose two starters per game. Also have Slaughter out for the season, no Hightower, no Armstrong, no Beason, limited Brown. Let's get a couple healthy games under their belt and see if a couple of these guys can come back and contribute.
4. Hart injury could be especially problematic because Illinois blitzed a lot more than we saw under Lovie. Hart was the only LBer that provided at least a decent pass rush score (via PFF). Losing him for an extended period could limit their blitzing options (or at least their effectiveness).
5. WR corps outside of Washington and Williams was underwhelming. Navarro had a costly fumble. Great catch for Spann but not a good sign that a converted QB has the most important catch of the game after only a handful of practices at the position.