Junior J. Leman LB had a career high nineteen tackles, four for a loss in yards and recorded a sack in today's loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes. Along with the outstanding performance of Leman the Illini gave the number one team all they wanted and more. "Jay is a team guy first I just love him, he does a good job for us he just gets better each time out" said Zook.
"Those guys have been playing hard and tried to protect their home turf tonight, all the games in the Big Ten are tough" said Jim Tressel. Today the Buckeyes didn't appear to have their offense in gear, "we have to get better and learn from it, we'll look at the film" said coach Jim Tressel.
The Illini out-scored the Buckeyes 10-0 in the second half; the difference for the 2006 Illini is their much improved defense.
Even though the Illini are 2-8 on the season they are getting better and the players are starting to believe they can win. The odds makers had the Illini at a 17 point underdog but today Zook's boys played the Buckeyes closer than any team this year.
"We got stronger as we went on, you can't play a team tight in the first half like we did, we are making progress, tonight showed them they can play with the better teams" added Zook.
"Juice couldn't settle down is why we pulled him, we left some things on the field in the first half we did it more for him than anything, there's not quarterback controversy. We have to continue to work, get better and recruit" said Zook.
Illinois is one of three teams to score in double figures against Tressel's troops this year, Northern Illinois scored 12 and Iowa managed 17 points, moral victory maybe but at this point they are making progress.