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Illinois vs. Western Illinois 2015 Final Score: Illini shutout Leathernecks 44-0

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The Illini readily handled their FCS opponent this week. Get ready for tougher opponents ahead.

Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Well look at that. We're two games into the 2015 season and the Illinois Fighting Illini have outscored their opponents 96-3. Yeah, Kent State and Western Illinois aren't really anything to write home about but when is the last time the Illini opened the season just straight up manhandling their cupcake opponents? Make hay while that sun shines. Illinois was up 30-0 by half time and never looked back.

Il buono:

  • The defense. Illinois' defense during the Tim Beckman years was horrible. Just downright hideous. And yet over the first 2 games this year they've allowed a combined 3 points, 386 total yards, and 17 first downs. They've forced 6 turnovers. A punt was blocked for a touchdown. What a time to be alive.
  • Taylor Barton. And speaking of turnovers, Taylor Barton had two picks today which brings his season total to 3. No Illini player has recorded more than 3 interceptions in a season over the past decade. We are two weeks in. That ignominious stat is about to go by the wayside.
  • Josh Ferguson. Fergie picked up only 81 total yards, but with 42 of those coming through the air he now has more receiving yards than any running back in school history.
  • Geronimo Allison. No Mike Dudek, no problem. Allison caught 8 balls for 124 yards. If he can keep it up, the passing attack will remain in great shape and will only get better when Dudek finally does return.

Il cattivo:

  • Fumbles. Three fumbles against a team like Western Illinois is far too many. The team needs to work on ball security.
  • The running game. 3.7 yards per rush isn't going to cut it. The offensive line isn't getting much of a push up the middle. It might seem like I'm just looking for things to complain about, but a real defense would have eaten this running game entirely alive.

Il bruto:

  • V'Angelo Bentley's decision making. Vanjo is one of my favorite players on this team. He's like a less obnoxious version of Vontae Davis. But I have no idea what he was thinking on two of his punt returns. The Illini were very lucky he managed to not touch the ball while diving to catch a punt. The luck ran out when he ran sloppily with the ball on a later return, allowing a Leatherneck to punch the ball out.