A Spark Of Hope: Illinois Football

The Illini sent the BigTen west division haywire Saturday, defeating top seeded Minnesota 28-24.  Illinois came out firing, scoring on their first two possessions. Quarterback Reilly O’Toole passed for 118 yards and a touchdown, and running for 59 yards and second touchdown.

The Illinois defense places 68 among 124 teams overall. The main reason the defense is considered to be so low, is Illinois’ inability to stop the run. This has Illini fans fuming. However, there is a spark of hope for Illini fans. Here are three, to name a few:

~The Illini allowed one of the conference’s best runningbacks, David Cobb, only 118 yards on the ground. That seems like a lot, but take away a play here and a play there, and Cobb would have finished with below 80 yards. Cobb averages close to 145 yards per game.

~The game-winning forced fumble and fumble recovery returned for a touchdown, came from superior linebacker play. T.J. Neal was the one who popped the ball loose from Cobb, and V’Anjelo Bently recovered it and took it in for the game winning touchdown.

~On Minnesota’s last chance to comeback and win, the Illini defense stepped up. The Illini rushed the quarterback, forcing him to fumble the ball, giving it back to the Illini with only 1:25 to play.

It is nice to see the defense in a better plave than they’ve been in the length of this entire season. With four more games, the Illini need to snag two more wins in order to recieve a bowl bid, and keep coach Tim Beckman around for another season? Can the Illini do it? Tune in Saturday at 8:00pm on ESPN.