UW: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Illinois came into the Washington game at 2-0, but with that record they also brought in a lot of unanswered questions. Well, after Saturday's performance, the jury is still out on this season. Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good:

Need "Mo" of That

If there was a bright spot for Illinois today, it came in the form of junior WR Geronimo Allison. Allison caught six passes for 160 yards and was the recipient of both Illinois touchdowns on the day. His big play ability and experience showed against a much tougher opponent than the Illini had faced so far. If it wasn't for Allison making plays when he had the chances, the game might have been even more lopsided. He will definitely be counted upon heavily the remainder of the season.

Not that it mattered, but..

I have to give props to punter Justin DuVernois, who averaged nearly 52 yards per punt on Saturday. Punting a total of 6 times, DuVernois did his part to help Illinois push back starting field position for Washington. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to matter much where Washington started from.

The Bad:

Run Over

One of the most noticeable stats from Saturday's game was Washington's total rushing yardage of 245 yards (compare that to Illinois' 72 yards). The Illinois defense was anemic against the run on Saturday and got burned for repeated first downs as well as some big plays. Cyler Miles is a dangerous runner, but it seemed like Washington as a team had mo problem moving the ball on the ground. With the Big Ten season just around the corner, Illinois better figure out their run defense in a hurry or else they could be in "B1G" trouble.

Shut Down on Third Down

Especially in the first half, Illinois struggled to sustain drives. Look no further than third down conversions for a big contributor to stalled drives. Illinois was only 1/11 (~9%) in converting third downs. In a game where the Illini needed to keep the ball out of Washington's hands, that was the last thing they would want to do.

The Ugly:

Laundry Piling Up:

Illinois came into the weekend as one of the most penalized teams in the Big Ten. Saturday did them no favors in escaping that category, as the Illini racked up 11 penalties for 110 yards. One of the most frustrating penalties was a pass interference call on a 3rd and 29 that wasn't even beyond the first down marker. Mistakes like that are inexcusable and keep the defense on the field and the offense on the sidelines.

Lots of "Giveth", Not Much "Taketh Away"

Turnovers were beyond costly for the Illini on Saturday. Washington's Shaq Thompson made Illinois pay the price for two of them early with both a fumble and interception return for touchdown. That "Shaq Attack" totally stunned Illinois and was a big contributor to the early 35-5 hole the Illini found themselves in. Fumbles by both Ferguson and Lunt paired with the Lunt interception made it way too easy for Washington to get a stranglehold on the game.

On the flip side, Washington fumbled a total of four times in the game, however the Illinois defense was only able to recover one of those. As an underdog, it's important to seize opportunities like that, especially when trailing basically from the start.


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