Hey guys! Hey guys! The Illini won a Big Ten football game! That hasn't happened in two years! I'VE NEVER GOTTEN TO WRITE A BIG TEN VICTORY RECAP UNTIL RIGHT NOW. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MY HANDS.
Was it pretty? God no. Was it constantly in doubt and almost a loss? Yes to both of those things. But the clock hit zero and Illinois had a higher score and now Tim Beckman has won a Big Ten game, giving him one more on the season than Pat Fitzgerald. Seriously. Drink that in.
We actually get to keep one of the rivalry trophies in Champaign again for a whole year. This is fun again.
- We won! Seriously cannot say that enough. Purdue is terrible this year, but Illinois really needed that win. If the team can manage to knock off a down Northwestern squad next week they'll head into the offseason with some pretty positive momentum and a nice 5-7 record. Not bad after a 2-10 year.
- Steve Hull continues to amaze. We keep mentioning that he was a defensive back because think of how much better the past offenses could have been with him as a receiver. He could have lined up opposite of A.J. Jenkins and caused all sorts of havoc. Oh well. Hull caught ten passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns today. That's his 4th game over 100 yards this season and he should make it five next Saturday.
- It's really nice that Josh Ferguson can now quietly rack up 123 rushing yards and not have to be the only weapon on offense. He's over 1,000 total yards of offense on the season now and should be expected to have a monster year next fall.
- The defense played easily their best game of the year. Yes, Purdue's offense is essentially little more than a bloated corpse decaying slowly in a rainy forest but dammit it still counts. The young secondary has improved drastically as the season goes on and the linebackers managed to step up too. Only Akeem Hunt's big 62 yard run at the start of the game stands out as bad, which is neat.
- Nate still makes really bizarre decisions, like the red zone interception in the third. He only has one game left so it's not like we'll ever see him truly learn to stop doing that. There's not really a lot to put here in this section.
- Four freaking turnovers. Four. This game should have been much more one-sided, but the Illini decided to put themselves down three in the turnover department and keep the Boilermakers in the game. While this is a very sportsmanlike decision, I don't think it's a wise strategy.
- Bill Cubit really needs to stop getting so cute in the red zone. Did the end around to Steve Hull pass to Nathan Scheelhaase almost work? Yeah. But then it didn't and we had to settle for another field goal and not beat the spread. It didn't burn us because Purdue is awful, but there's no need for it.
- Spencer Harris continues to just not do good things, adding "fumble" to his usual repertoire of "run backwards after catching a pass".
BUT HEY! WE WON! AND NORTHWESTERN NOW HAS THE LONGEST LOSING STREAK IN THE CONFERENCE!