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Illinois 28, Minnesota 24: Start Making Sense

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Sometimes crazy things happen and today is one of those times.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

I don't believe what I just saw. For the first time since Homecoming of 2011, Illinois has won a conference football game in Champaign. What do the Fighting Illini have in common with the Texas Christian Horned Frogs?

They're the only teams to beat the Minnesota Golden Gophers this season.

Seriously, that actually happened. In a game that Reilly O'Toole played quarterback. Against a team that is already bowl eligible. I'm sorry for rambling, I just don't quite know how to handle or process this. It just doesn't make any damn sense. David Cobb ran for 125 yards and two touchdowns and THE ILLINI STILL WON. The offense played an amazing first quarter and the defense managed to make that hold.

Il buono:

  • Reilly O'Toole. The much maligned backup played well enough to win today, completing 14 of 21 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. He also ran 17 times for 59 yards and another touchdown. We all wanted Aaron Bailey to get the start and Reilly happily made us all look like idiots. Have yourself a day, Mr. O'Toole.
  • Mike Dudek. Yeah, Flash was held under 50 yards but he'll break Arrelious Benn's freshman receiving yards record next game. He also threw a beautiful 22 yard pass to Geronimo Allison which made me laugh pretty hard.
  • Justin DuVernois. JVD had another wonderful day of punting, booting the ball nine times for an average of 49.7 yards. That's amazing. DuVernois managed to put the Gophers in terrible field position all morning and afternoon and it paid off.
  • V'Angelo Bentley. Vanjo recovered a fumble for the go-ahead score in the 4th quarter. That's the fourth way he's scored a touchdown now and I want him to return a missed field goal, block a kick and run it back, throw a TD pass, catch one of his own, and then run one in. Give him all of the touchdowns.
  • The defense. They weren't perfect, but they did more than enough. Holding the Gophers to 3 points in the first half went a long way. So while they did give up 418 yards, they are the reason the Illini won today. It's about damn time.

Il cattivo:

  • The offense. You aren't going to win many games when you gain fewer than 300 yards. I'm not mad because we did manage to win, but this can't happen again. Then again, other than Ohio State we don't have any truly strong opponents left on the schedule.
  • Ball security. The Illini fumbled or bobbled the ball multiple times but lucked into only losing the ball once. We can't bank on being so fortunate every week.
  • Josh Ferguson. Fergie had a nice couple of plays, but there's nothing good about averaging 3.2 yards per carry.

Il bruto:

  • There really isn't anything to put down here this week and that confuses the hell out of me. Go enjoy Homecoming weekend.