Last Wednesday, Scott Holland, Sport Editor of the McDonough County Voice, was kind enough to give up some time to talk about the then-upcoming game. You can read that interview here.
But now that the result has been tallied, we return to see what Scott had to say about the game, the Leathernecks, and the Illini. Also, if you need one more game recap from the weekend — this time from the opponent point-of-view — check out Scott’s game summary.
1. Your prediction from the first part of this interview was fairly accurate (“I think the game is close for about a half, but I believe eventually Illinois’ size, strength and depth wear down Western and the Illini win by two scores.”), but was this result really what you expected from the Leathernecks?
I really thought WIU would be able to hang for three quarters before fading in the end. Once Illinois pulled away and went up 24-7 though, I really thought the potential for this to be a 45-7 or somewhere around that game was there, so I was surprised WIU did hang in the game the way it was going in the third.
2. I thought there was decent pressure applied to our quarterbacks, at least at the beginning of the game. Was that good play from the WIU defense or a less-than-great showing from Illinois?
Western was much more aggressive against the running quarterback this week as opposed to last week. WIU did a good job spying Bush then attacking him when he left the pocket instead of waiting back and giving him room.
3. What player from WIU impressed you the most?
I thought George Wahee played really well. He’s a grad-transfer from Norfolk State, so I did not know much about him coming into this game. He did not play at all at Montana State, so for him to have six catches for 104 yards is really eye-opening. Hopefully the injury he sustained late in the game is not serious.
4. Did any Fighting Illini players catch your eye?
Roundtree was someone WIU coach Jared Elliott highlighted as a guy he was worried about and he certainly delivered. I thought the collective effort from the entire Illinois defense after WIU’s first drive was really good, especially in the middle of the game.
5. The Illini had way, way too many flags called on them tonight. I’m not a coach and I don’t think you’ve ever been either but how do you correct all those penalties in the future?
With penalties, it is usually lack of focus, guys not knowing where they are on the field in relationship to late hits, not being aware of the play clock or just losing emotions during the game. I do think the targeting penalty was a bad call though.
6. I’ve always wanted to cover a college football game as credentialed media. What’s it like being media? Anything different when you’re covering the visiting team?
It’s definitely an enjoyable experience. I like going on the road and seeing another program’s operations, you’re not as familiar with the settings but a lot of schools do things the same way.
7. What’s your feeling of this Illini team? Now that Purdue and Nebraska have shown they can lose to non-Power 5 teams, does Illinois stand a chance to beat them?
If Illinois can avoid slow starts, they should have a chance. Defense should keep them in games, but not getting things going on offense until the second half or second quarter against Big Ten teams could bury the Illini.
8. What’s the outlook for the Leathernecks for the rest of the year? Go ahead and go full ceiling with your prediction. The more optimism the better.
WIU is definitely coming out of this game banged up, two starting receivers were hit, a third was ejected, an all-conference caliber cornerback was hurt as well as an offensive linemen.
With WIU, it seems little things are hurting the team now and you have to wonder if that’s something that is symptomatic or something they can straighten.
I want to give a big thank you once again to Scott Holland for his time and his answers this week. Without him, these posts likely wouldn’t be here. If you have a Twitter account, follow the man on @hottscolland81.