UTSA 37, Illinois 30 Postgame

#151      
Obviously need better QB play (OLine was awful too), but that was pure garbage from the defensive side of the ball tonight.
OLine wasn't awful all day. ILL averaged about the same yards per carry as UTSA. But UTSA had the more explosive RB. ILL's RBs are not as quick to and through the holes. And you cannot expect every hole to be gaping. Sometimes it's just a momentary crease that the RB has to hit. If he's a step slow, then it's no-go. Plus UTSA's DL ran stunts all day, so the OLineman had to flow with stunting DL, which meant they were not able to peel off to chip the LBs that were fast and running free all day.
 
#152      
OLine wasn't awful all day. ILL averaged about the same yards per carry as UTSA. But UTSA had the more explosive RB. ILL's RBs are not as quick to and through the holes. And you cannot expect every hole to be gaping. Sometimes it's just a momentary crease that the RB has to hit. If he's a step slow, then it's no-go. Plus UTSA's DL ran stunts all day, so the OLineman had to flow with stunting DL, which meant they were not able to peel off to chip the LBs that were fast and running free all day.
Illinois missed #5 on defense. Their DBs simply could not keep up with UTSA's receivers. UTSA has really good skill players--and what else would you expect from a Texas school. There's so much talent down there. Heck, their RB was a top five rusher in the nation. And their QB was experienced, and it showed.
 
#153      
Forgottonia
Pretty dismal attendance of 34k after a nice win vs Nebraska. Guessing it was less by the few shots of the stands I saw.
 
#156      
Cincinnati, OH
Disappointing after last week so I'll keep this one brief(er)

Positives
1. Defense did a good job of adjusting in the second half and making strides to keep the team in the game.
2. Played against an excellent running back and the defense did a solid job of limiting their running game. The Randolph injury is concerning but I aim hopeful that the running defense is solid.
3. Hayes and McCourt put on another show. Special teams is going to keep Illinois in a few games when the total yards disparity says it shouldn't be close.
4. Isaiah is on track for 80+ catches and 800+ yards receiving for the season.
5. Doug Kramer is having a great first couple of games. He's going to be in an NFL training camp next year regardless of his size issues.
6. Jakari Norwood is providing a nice change-of-pace from the rest the running backs
7. Jamal Woods played a lot more snaps this week (Randolph injury) and did an excellent job. Would be a big boost if he can make up for that loss.

Negatives
1. Offensive line issues are persisting. Guards are getting destroyed in pass blocking. UTSA's defensive line is solid but not one of the more talented groups that Illinois will be facing this year. Gotta find some combination that will be successful. Virginia's defensive line didn't impress last week so Illinois might get another week to find the right grouping of guards.
2. Haven't seen an update on Randolph but I'm guessing he's out for a while. Have to shake this injury bug.
3. Not a pretty game for the secondary. Part of that was scheme issues but poor tackling really fueled some of UTSA's drives.
4. 84 snaps for UTSA's offense. Can't survive at that number.
5. 3rd down conversions. This has been beaten to death by everyone else so I'll keep it that simple.
6. Gotta find some success stretching the field outside of traditional play-action. It was great that provided some success on Saturday but teams will work on taking that away in future weeks.
7. Running game was lacking outside of Norwood's brief start and Stikowski having a couple good scrambles. Need to get a stronger YPC as it's vital for this offense. Let's hope Brown and healthy Epstein can provide a boost.
 
#157      
Disappointing after last week so I'll keep this one brief(er)

Positives
1. Defense did a good job of adjusting in the second half and making strides to keep the team in the game.

2. Played against an excellent running back and the defense did a solid job of limiting their running game. The Randolph injury is concerning but I aim hopeful that the running defense is solid.
3. Hayes and McCourt put on another show. Special teams is going to keep Illinois in a few games when the total yards disparity says it shouldn't be close.
4. Isaiah is on track for 80+ catches and 800+ yards receiving for the season.
5. Doug Kramer is having a great first couple of games. He's going to be in an NFL training camp next year regardless of his size issues.
6. Jakari Norwood is providing a nice change-of-pace from the rest the running backs
7. Jamal Woods played a lot more snaps this week (Randolph injury) and did an excellent job. Would be a big boost if he can make up for that loss.

Negatives
1. Offensive line issues are persisting. Guards are getting destroyed in pass blocking. UTSA's defensive line is solid but not one of the more talented groups that Illinois will be facing this year. Gotta find some combination that will be successful. Virginia's defensive line didn't impress last week so Illinois might get another week to find the right grouping of guards.
2. Haven't seen an update on Randolph but I'm guessing he's out for a while. Have to shake this injury bug.
3. Not a pretty game for the secondary. Part of that was scheme issues but poor tackling really fueled some of UTSA's drives.
4. 84 snaps for UTSA's offense. Can't survive at that number.
5. 3rd down conversions. This has been beaten to death by everyone else so I'll keep it that simple.
6. Gotta find some success stretching the field outside of traditional play-action. It was great that provided some success on Saturday but teams will work on taking that away in future weeks.
7. Running game was lacking outside of Norwood's brief start and Stikowski having a couple good scrambles. Need to get a stronger YPC as it's vital for this offense. Let's hope Brown and healthy Epstein can provide a boost.

Season 6 What GIF by The Office


In the most important drive of the game, that second-half defense let a C-USA team run the ball play after play down their throats. If they had gotten a stop, with how the offense was playing at the time, I think Illinois wins.
 
#158      
Cincinnati, OH
In the most important drive of the game, that second-half defense let a C-USA team run the ball play after play down their throats. If they had gotten a stop, with how the offense was playing at the time, I think Illinois wins.

I get that it turns into a situation of placing the blame on one side of the team or the other. That said, UTSA's offense started scuffling right before halftime.

They started 6-for-8 on 3rd downs. They finished 9-for-17 on 3rd downs. 3rd quarter was best performance for the defense and the offense couldn't get anything going. I'm willing to respect the team ran out of gas at the end with the amount of offensive snaps (84!) by the end. That said, I can understand how that UTSA drive close to the end was so demoralizing.
 
#163      
Paducah, Ky

CHAMPAIGN — Tony Adams Jr. always takes things personally. He can't help it.
He doesn't do so in an arrogant or defensive manner, but rather from a place of honesty and humility. So before critiquing anyone else's performance in Illinois' 37-30 home loss to UTSA on Saturday, the Illini's fifth-year cornerback pointed the finger squarely at himself when he was asked about the Roadrunners' offensive success, particularly through the air.
"I'm not talking about anybody play except for my own," Adams said after the game. "I gave up some key third downs. I wasn't in the positions I needed to be. I didn't play up to the standard that I hold myself (to) and I need to play at. So I can't talk about anybody but myself."

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good read
 
#164      
1. Tony Adams should be looking at himself. He made Franklin look like heisman finalist. He gave up a ton of first downs. Disappointed because i am a big fan of his.
2. Hightower, minus a long completion and 2 (not egregious) PI's, looked really good for a 2nd week in a row.
3. Running backs look like 1 broken tackle or staying up through a shoe string tackle away from breaking quite a few long runs.
4. We need Peters back. Sitkowski is too easy to game plan against. Every once in awhile he shows good potential. He really needs a year to get his fundamentals down and learn how to play qb instead of relying on above average high school attributes. UTSA should have had multiple picks.
5. Isaiah Williams looks like a great WR threat if we can get more consistent QB play.
6. Punt return turnover at the end of the first half seemed to loom large. Very easily could have been tied or had the lead going into the half without it.
7. Coaching seemed above average (not great though), lack of skill seemed to outweigh coaching most of the time something bad happened.

My useless interpretation of the game anyway.
 
#165      
1. Tony Adams should be looking at himself. He made Franklin look like heisman finalist. He gave up a ton of first downs. Disappointed because i am a big fan of his.
2. Hightower, minus a long completion and 2 (not egregious) PI's, looked really good for a 2nd week in a row.
3. Running backs look like 1 broken tackle or staying up through a shoe string tackle away from breaking quite a few long runs.
4. We need Peters back. Sitkowski is too easy to game plan against. Every once in awhile he shows good potential. He really needs a year to get his fundamentals down and learn how to play qb instead of relying on above average high school attributes. UTSA should have had multiple picks.
5. Isaiah Williams looks like a great WR threat if we can get more consistent QB play.
6. Punt return turnover at the end of the first half seemed to loom large. Very easily could have been tied or had the lead going into the half without it.
7. Coaching seemed above average (not great though), lack of skill seemed to outweigh coaching most of the time something bad happened.

My useless interpretation of the game anyway.
1. Adams just didn't have the quicks to stick with Franklin. He did much better on Cephus. There is a reason he switched to safety for a while. Walters and Henry gotta make sure our guys in a position to succeed if we are going to play man.
2. Hightower is good and will get better
3. The weakest contact brings them down, gotta work on their balance and leg drive. The OL didn't help them, but they need to be stronger.
4. Art is what he is, but most of it is small mechanical work and having confidence. His terrible INT problem his Freshman season makes him double clutch and not make the throw when it is there. Peters is definitely the better QB, but we probably have another couple weeks before he is back and Art isn't actively losing us games which is all we can ask of him.
5. Isaiah and Duece are our biggest playmakers (credit to McDonald for coaching them up). Petersen needs to do a better job of getting both the ball in space. We need some quick slants and bubble screens to these two and let them work.
6. Mistakes will kill us as we saw in the Lovie era with the same kids. It was a big momentum !!!! but the player slept trying and fighting up hill.
7. Coaches are still learning how to best coach and manage these kids. They are actually making changes in game and that is such a huge improvement from the last couple years. I am hoping with some film on the opponent finally we will come out strong instead of the slow start we have seen.
 
#166      
Paducah, Ky

CHAMPAIGN — Although it's not the outcome Illinois wanted Saturday with a 37-30 home loss to UTSA, first-year Illini coach Bret Bielema made sure to give James McCourt his credit.
The team wouldn't have even had the chance to go for a last-second, game-tying touchdown pass without its standout kicker.
"One of the things that gets lost in this performance, kind of disappointed he didn't get anything (as far as) Big Ten recognition, but James McCourt kicked himself into history on Saturday," Bielema said Monday. "But as is the case, you don't hear about those through defeat."
The accomplishment Bielema was referring to is McCourt drilling 52- and 53-yard field goals in the third quarter and fourth quarter, respectively, to move past former star kicker Chase McLaughlin for the most 50-yard field goals in Illinois history.

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another good read