Despite an electric atmosphere and fast start, Fighting Illini football was outmatched in their 48-23 loss to North Carolina on Saturday night. And to make matters worse, Illinois’ depth chart may have taken a few pretty big hits. Caleb Day (DB) and Gabe Megginson (OL) were both forced to exit the contest with what appeared to be lower body/leg injuries.
Lovie Smith briefly touched on their statuses during his postgame press conference, though he obviously wasn’t prepared to disclose any specifics.
#illini Lovie: Caleb Day and Gabe Megginson injured. Don't know the extent. Whenever you don't finish a game, it's a concern— Jeremy Werner (@JWernerScout) September 11, 2016
As Steve discussed in our Game Recap last night, losing Megginson for any period of time could be disastrous for an already struggling offense.
The injury didn’t look good on replay, and trainers were working on his left ankle on the sidelines. The Illini are extremely thin up front, and to lose one of the most talented players on the roster to an injury at a position of need only complicates things further.
Day’s injury (knee?) actually looked worse from my perspective in the stands. I haven’t seen anything more in regards to his status moving forward, however I did notice the senior hanging around on the sideline using crutches during the second half.
Lovie Smith’s Postgame Press Conference
Illinois Fighting Illini Links
According to a University release, sophomore shooting guard Jalen Coleman-Lands suffered a broken right hand during a workout on Wednesday. He had surgery on Friday and is expected to miss at least eight weeks
The game changed for the Tar Heels when Illini quarterback Wes Lunt fumbled and Carolina recovered. On the ensuing offensive possession, Carolina scored a touchdown to go ahead 17-14 and never relinquished the lead after that point.
"That's fine," said Lunt, who went 17-for-35 for 127 yards and two touchdowns. "Put the blame on me. I know I did not play to the best of my abilities. We'll watch the film and get better.
The Illinois running back took his first handoff from Wes Lunt and, after the offensive line cleared a wide path for him, scampered 65 yards untouched down the right side for a touchdown only 85 seconds into Saturday night’s prime-time game against North Carolina.