That might have been the worst loss I have ever seen in person.
I was asked by a friend to attend the 2018 Illinois-Iowa football game, and boy, was that a historic performance or what?
For all the wrong reasons, of course.
Outclassed. Out-coached. Out coiffed. Generally outdone in every way. Illinois gave little resistance to an Iowa team whose fans were disappointed in their 8-win season. What I wouldn't give for 8 wins for Illinois.
Illinois gave a solid effort. Through one quarter. Then, the wheels fell off. Fumble. Iowa touchdown. Fumble. Iowa touchdown.
35-0 at halftime. It was over by the middle of the second quarter.
AJ Epenesa, a legacy recruit at defensive end for Iowa, stole the show. A couple of sacks. Forced fumble. Fumble recovery. He was everywhere. He blocked a punt. He was a one-man wrecking crew defensively.
On the opposite end, Illinois' offense couldn't get anything going. At all. The lone bright spot was a strong rushing performance from Ra'Von Bonner. Replacing Reggie Corbin, who was dealing with a leg injury, Bonner ran for 96 yards and averaged almost five yards per carry.
But even Bonner's day wasn't completely perfect. A crucial fumble early in the second quarter led to an Iowa touchdown that ostensibly ended the game.
The game led to many a fan questioning Lovie's job security (including this one), however, it didn't stop AD Josh Whitman from extending Lovie's contract through 2023. It seems that, no matter the outcome, Lovie wasn't going anywhere.
That's fine. Continuity for a program like Illinois' is a good thing. Recruiting is helped as well with security not a question. Let's just hope, going forward, we don't have another 63-0 drubbing to ponder over.
Just win, Lovie.
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