Illinois was blown out yet again. The same as last week, and the week before. And that same that will be for the rest of the season without a miraculous turnaround by this defense. The Maryland Terrapins came into this contest with one of the worst offenses in the country (ranked 100th in S&P), and put up 63 points and over 700 yards against the worst Illinois Football defense in recent memory.
Illinois had no answers for what Maryland was trying to do. Maryland found explosive play after explosive play with simple jet sweeps, drag routes, and play action passes. Maryland had touchdowns of 54, 43, 25, 27, 43, 64 and 46 yards in this game. The Illinois defense was completely outmatched against a terrible offense.
Five of the last six Illini opponents have gained over 500 yards. This defense is pathetic, and there is no use sugar coating it. The defensive line is completely inept and undersized. The secondary often looks lost, and the Illini linebackers lack the athleticism to make any game changing plays. Lovie Smith was hired in part for his defensive knowledge, but yet again Illinois has a team that is completely terrible at the one thing the head coach is supposed to specialize in.
The Illini offense faired better, but still failed to do much. With MJ Rivers starting the game there was hope for a bit of a spark, but with Rivers Illinois consistently had drives stall out, and four good scoring opportunities ended with Illini FGs. But the score was still within reach after the 4th McLaughlin three points at 28-12. Illinois wouldn’t score again until garbage time when Maryland opened up a 49-12 lead.
MJ Rivers was concussed in this game after a hit from former Illini Tre Watson who was ejected for targeting. He wore a shirt pre-game saying “Kings of LittyvILLe”, and Maryland sure were that today.
Tre Watson is wearing a shirt that says “Kings of LittyvILLe”— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) October 27, 2018
He mad. https://t.co/2qyqxDwIKt
AJ Bush entered the game and did provide a spark late. Illinois scored three garbage time touchdowns with Bush including two long touchdown passes to Dominic Stampley. His 84 yard pass to Stampley for a TD was the third longest in Illinois Football history.
Reggie Corbin had another huge touchdown run (69 yards) and another fantastic individual day with 184 total yards at a 9.68 yards per touch clip.
This offensive performance against mostly Maryland backups mind you, only made the final scoreline a little more respectable, but Illinois was unable to cover an 18 point spread despite 33 offensive points.
There really isn’t much to say. Illinois has now lost 4 Big Ten games, and hasn’t looked like they belonged in the same conference as the opposition in any of them. This program in its current state is an embarrassment to the University, Illinois Alums, and Illini fans all over the world.
Lovie Smith was handed a nearly impossible job to succeed in. This was almost always going to end in failure, but there is a difference between being a poor football team and allowing one of the worst offenses in the country to gain 10.32 yards per play against you. Lovie has done little to help improve the Illinois Football program to date since taking the job. Hope is starting to run thin, and Josh Whitman is going to have a major decision coming up very soon.
All we Illini fans want is football to be watchable and fun. That ever-so-low bar hasn’t been met this season, and it doesn’t look like we’ll come close in any of the remaining games or the next couple of seasons unless major changes are made.