If you guys don't mind, I'm just going to skip straight to the bullet points. This game went on longer than anticipated and I have to go check on my surgery dog.
- Resilience. I've leaned on this word plenty of times this season, but it just works. Even after starting down 28 points the stupid safety and the sideline coach fight (more on that later), the team doesn't lay down. It's ugly and painful, but unlike the last two years this team actually fights back. Makes it a bit less disheartening.
- We may have just ended Ohio State's championship game dreams. The #3 team in the nation should in no way allow a team like Illinois to hang around with them all game, yet they did. Stupid playcalling, piss-poor passing, and an incredibly leaky defense allowed a vastly inferior Illini team to hang around and put up 410 yards on the conference frontrunner. Enjoy your trip to the Rose Bowl, Buckeyes fans. You don't deserve better.
- Steve Hull continues to look like a capable number one receiver. Eight receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown today and it continues to be insane that he was a freaking defensive back the first three years of his career. What a waste.
- The special teams unit is really coming together nicely. Justin DuVernois kept pinning the Buckeyes back thanks to tremendous help from his gunners and questionable decisions to try at returns by OSU players. Not to be outdone, V'Angelo Bentley decided it was about time he added a punt return TD to go with his kickoff return TD from earlier in the year.
- The refs seemed to struggle with spotting the ball all day. Early in the first quarter, Steve Hull had a first down, but a horrible spot forced the Illini into a 3rd & 1 they couldn't escape from. Later on things would even out as Carlos Hyde dove for a first down only to be informed he came up short. Reffing is hard, but there has to be some way to make spotting better.
- The run defense is terrible. Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde are both very good players, but letting them combine for 381 yards is pretty danged bad.
- I don't like ragging on college players. They're better at football than I'll ever be. But if we never see Reilly O'Toole take another snap in an Illini uniform, I'd be pretty damn okay with that. Nathan Scheelhaase's helmet popped off deep in Illinois territory, forcing him to sit out a play on a crucial third down. Instead of bringing in Aaron Bailey to run up the gut and give DuVernois more room to punt, Bill Cubit sent out O'Toole and told him to pass. O'Toole promptly fumbled the ball into the endzone, resulting in an OSU safety. It's been real Reilly, but you need to be buried on the depth chart.
- That little snafu lead to what will likely dominate the storylines this week about Illinois football. Beckman was pissed at Bill Cubit for his foolish playcall and the needed to be separated by the rest of the coaching staff on the sideline. The dustup passed by quickly enough, but it's more fuel for the haters' fires that Beckman really doesn't need to be providing.