Posted on: December 23, 2011 6:20 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Coachless 6-7 UCLA and coachless 6-6 Illinois's matchup in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl has been panned as one of the least intriguing of the bowl season from the day it was announced, and the Bruins haven't seemed particularly interested in the game themselves, skipping out on practice and having four players miss the game through academic and team rules issues. But just to prove they can match their opponent step-for-step in indifference as well as lack of regular season wins, the Illini have now also announced a major absence from the game.
The player in question is leading rusher Jason Ford, who the Illini have confirmed will be academically ineligible for the bowl and will not make the trip to San Francisco. The announcement ends the career of Ford, a senior with 1,962 rushing yards.
Reserve wide receiver Jake Kumerow will also miss the game through academics.
Ford appeared in at least 12 games all four years of his Illini career but had to wait to wait until the 2011 season for a chance as the featured back thanks to Mikel LeShoure. While Ford's total of 600 yards and 7 touchdowns led the Illini in both categories this year, an expected breakout season failed to materialize as Ford reached the 100-yard mark just one time (vs. Penn State) and averaged just 3.9 yards per-carry. His 26 career rushing touchdowns do place him second on the Illinois all-time list in that category.
Ford will likely be replaced by fellow senior Troy Pollard, who totaled 462 yards this season but on only 62 carries, a 7.5 yard average.
Posted on: September 29, 2011 2:47 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 12:14 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Man vs. Woman vs. Machine is a feature that runs every Thursday afternoon. It is here that Tom Fornelli fights against the rising tide of female empowerment and technology to ensure that men everywhere can at least claim that college football is still theirs. He does this by picking a set of games against the spread against his girlfriend, Lynn, and his Playstation 3.
Good news, my fellow containers of the Y chromosome: while we have yet to overtake her, we have crept ever closer to Woman this week in the standings. Woman is reeling from her first losing week of the season, and it has her shaken to the core. She's looking over her shoulder and she sees us drawing nearer. Her confidence is shaken.
She knows it's only a matter of time before Man rises up and takes his rightful place atop the throne.
And that time is now.
Pitt vs. South Florida (-2 1/2) - Thursday, 8pm (All Times Eastern)Man - Is there anything more exciting than the beginning of Big East football season? Of course there is, in fact, there are a lot of things more exciting. I'll still watch anyway, and since I had to suffer through 60 minutes of a Pitt game last weekend, I'm picking South Florida on principle. Pick: South Florida
Woman - "Skip Holtz's Bulls smacked Notre Dame around who, in turn, smacked Pitt around. That should make this pick easy but a short week + travel for South Florida and Heinz Field + two embarrassing losses in a row + points for the Panthers makes me waver. (By the way, am I the last person to realize the Holtz family are living the song 'SKIP to my LOU'? Ewwww.)" Pick: Pitt
Machine - The Machine foresees a bad night for B.J. Daniels in Ketchup Stadium on Thursday night, as he throws 3 costly interceptions and the Panthers emerge victorious, 27-20. Pick: Pitt
Michigan (-20 1/2) vs. Minnesota - Saturday, 12pmMan - This is a tough one to call. Not because I don't think Michigan is going to win, but because I'm not sure I trust Michigan's defense enough to give up nearly three touchdowns in the spread. Though I suppose that if Michigan could beat San Diego State by 21, then it should be able to handle Minnesota. Pick: Michigan
Woman - "Ah, yes, that storied rivalry known as the Little Brown Jug Bowl. Word is, next year they're changing it to the 'Little Brown Change Dish You Made for Your Dad at Summer Camp'.Bowl." Pick: Michigan
Machine - It seems the Machine is more committed to making Denard Robinson a pocket passer than Brady Hoke is, as Robinson throws for over 300 yards while rushing for only 27. Michigan wins rather easily, but Minnesota covers the spread, 38-20. Pick: Minnesota
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (-3 1/2) - Saturday, 12pmMan - The last meeting between these two teams before they're conference rivals once again. I picked Texas A&M to end its losing streak against Oklahoma State last week, and the Aggies let me down. I don't know if I'm ready to make that mistake again. Pick: Arkansas
Woman - "'Welcome to the SEC, Aggies! Please accept these brass knuckles in your nether regions from Bobby Petrino.' 'Why, thank you, Razorbacks! Please enjoy our blood curdling practice cheers outside your hotel window at 3am.'" Pick: Texas A&M
Machine - You may want to reconsider the SEC, Aggies. The Machine tells us of a ritual sacrifice taking place in Dallas on Saturday morning, as Arkansas wins 42-21. Pick: Arkansas
Illinois (-6 1/2) vs. Northwestern - Saturday, 12pmMan - I was at the meeting between these two teams last season at Wrigley Field and I still remember Mikel LeShoure running wild on the Northwestern defense. I'm not a big fan of trusting Ron Zook with anything, but even if Dan Persa does play this weekend, he's going to have a bit of rust to shake off. Pick: Illinois
Woman - "Oh, Sweet Sioux, here we - yawn - go again. With or without Persa, the Wildcats are a strong team with the extra bye week to prepare. And give me the points from a Ron Zook-coached team any day." Pick: Northwestern
Machine - The Machine believes in the Fighting Zooks, but it also knows that Pat Fitzgerald's teams always keep things close. Illinois wins 24-21. Pick: Northwestern
South Carolina (-10 1/2) vs. Auburn - Saturday, 3:30pmMan - Before last week's game against Vanderbilt, South Carolina had failed to cover in any of its first three games this season. Which makes that spread seem a bit large, because although I know Auburn isn't the same team this season, it's offense has still proved to be pretty potent. I'm going to go with Auburn to at least keep it interesting. Or, more accurately, I'm going with Stephen Garcia allowing Auburn to keep it interesting. Pick: Auburn
Woman - "Seems like a mighty big line for an offense whose quarterback has thrown nearly as many picks as passes, until you realize he's up against a team who would have their hands full defensing this." Pick: South Carolina
Machine - Remember the Georgia Dome! South Carolina gets its revenge for the SEC title game last season, kicking the defending champs while they're down, 34-20. Pick: South Carolina
Kansas State vs. Baylor (-3 1/2) - Saturday, 3:30pmMan - At some point this year you're likely to see the "Robert Griffin For Heisman" bandwagon rolling through your town, and when you do see it, I'll be the guy driving it. Pick: Baylor
Woman - "I don't care what record Kansas State brings to this contest, until Robert Griffin III does something - anything - to prove otherwise, I'm doubling down on the amazing Baylor QB. A game I will not miss." Pick: Baylor
Machine - Not even the Machine is impervious to RG3, though it sees Griffin only being able to complete 70% of his passes this week. Baylor rolls 38-14. Pick: Baylor
Virginia Tech (-7 1/2) vs. Clemson - Saturday, 6pmMan - I understand that expecting a Clemson meltdown is the natural thing to do, but at the same time, this Clemson team has already survived contests against Florida State and Auburn. Virginia Tech hasn't played anybody yet, and while I think playing at home gives Tech the edge, I don't think it's going to come easy, either. Pick: Clemson
Woman - "Virginia Tech should be stuffed on cupcakes by now and ready for some real football. Meanwhile, despite tougher opposition, I haven't been overwhelmed by Clemson's play and think the bubble will burst on Saturday. But I'm going to guess they'll cover." Pick: Clemson
Machine - It won't be very high-scoring, but the Machine sees an exciting game in our future. After a touchdown run by Andre Ellington gives Clemson a 21-20 lead with less than two minutes left, Logan Thomas leads a nice drive to set up a game-winning field goal in the final seconds to give the Hokies a 23-21 victory. Pick: Clemson
Florida vs. Alabama (-5 1/2) - Saturday, 8pmMan - I haven't seen much of the Gators this season, but from what I'm told, John Brantley hasn't been completely terrible at all. Which is definitely a bonus for Florida. That being said, Brantley hasn't had to face this Alabama defense yet. I expect a tough, low-scoring battle in this one, but I feel like Trent Richardson will break through at some point, and it may be all Alabama needs. Pick: Alabama
Woman - "Florida under Will Muschamp and his offensive coach Charlie Weis is strong in new, exciting ways, but I just can't seen them holding back Satan Saban and the Crimson juggernaut. Maybe next year." Pick: Alabama
Machine - I hope you like defense, because the Machine says there will be a lot of it in The Swamp on Saturday night. The Tide doesn't exactly roll as much as it drowns. Alabama wins 13-7. Pick: Alabama
Wisconsin (-9 1/2) vs. Nebraska - Saturday, 8pmMan - This seems like a trap. That spread just feels really big considering this game is between the two teams who are supposed to be the best in the Big Ten. Then you start thinking about how Nebraska has looked so far this season compared to Wisconsin, and it makes a bit more sense. That being said, who exactly has Wisconsin played? It's hard to make this call, but I think Taylor Martinez makes some key mistakes in a hostile environment on Saturday night and the Badgers capitalize. Pick: Wisconsin
Woman - "Welcome to the inaugural Big Ten Championship game, Round One. Of course, this version is going to be played in the cacaphonous craziness that is Camp Randall, led by a Badgers team with a dominant defense and a sterling new QB. By January, Nebraska should have the kinks worked out but this week they will yield to a superior home team." Pick: Wisconsin
Machine - The Machine says "If there's one Big Ten game you're going to watch this weekend, make it this one, because it's going to be crazy! Wisconsin holds off Nebraska 35-34." In other news, if your Playstation starts talking to you, it's probably time to turn it off or get some sleep. Pick: Nebraska
Stanford (-20 1/2) vs. UCLA - Saturday, 10:30pmMan - If Jim Harbuagh were still around, this one would be easy to pick. With David Shaw in charge, I'm just not as sure that Stanford won't slow things down a bit once this game is in hand late, and UCLA has been somewhat bi-polar this season, so I'm not sure which team to expect. Screw it, I'll go with Stanford. Pick: Stanford
Woman - "Through some hard-hitting investigative journalism, I've procured copies of Stanford's playbook and UCLA's. So... yeah. Stanford wins but without star linebacker Shayne Skov, I think they won't quite cover." Pick: UCLA
Machine - Andrew Luck is an unstoppable killing machine. He throws for 6 touchdowns and runs for another as Stanford obliterates the Bruins, 52-17. Pick: Stanford
StandingsSeason Record (Last Week)
1. Woman 28-17 (4-6)
2. Man 27-18 (6-4)
3. Machine 23-22 (6-4)
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Andre Ellington, Andrew Luck, Arkansas, Auburn, B.J. Daniels, Baylor, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Bobby Petrino, Brady Hoke, Charlie Weis, Clemson, Dan Persa, David Shaw, Denard Robinson, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Jim Harbaugh, John Brantley, Kansas State, Logan Thomas, Man vs Woman vs Machine, Michigan, Mikel LeShoure, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Pac-12, Pat Fitzgerald, Pitt, Robert Griffin, Robert Griffin III, Ron Zook, San Diego State, SEC, Shayne Skov, Skip Holtz, South Carolina, South Florida, Stanford, Stephen Garcia, Taylor Martinez, Texas A&M, Tom Fornelli, Trent Richardson, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Will Muschamp, Wisconsin
Posted on: January 14, 2011 9:21 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2011 3:20 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Earlier today, our own Dennis Dodd posted his pre-preseason Top 25 for the 2011 college football season. We here at the College Football Blog wouldn't dare disagree with our esteemed colleague's opinions ... but every year there's teams that vastly exceed the expectations of even the wisest prognosticators (like, say, Auburn in 2010) and some that disappoint despite some seemingly major advantages (like, say, Iowa in 2010).
1. Baylor - The good news for Baylor: dynamic quarterback Robert Griffin III is back along with most of the offense, and while he loses starting tailback Jay Finley to graduation, Finley's backups Terrance Ganaway and Jarred Salubi provide an intriguing balance of power and speed -- they both return. In addition, RG3 gets his top five receivers back (all of whom caught at least 40 passes this year), and three-year starting lineman Philip Baker will be the anchor at center for a mostly intact offensive line. Yes, Baylor still looks wretched at times on defense (53 points to Oklahoma and 55 to Oklahoma State aren't exactly solid efforts), so there's no telling whether the Bears' losses on that side of the ball are addition by subtraction or not, but one thing's for sure: there'll be points put up in Waco in 2011.
2. Illinois - This spot would likely go to fellow "Leader" Penn State if it weren't for the fact that PSU's replacing Evan Royster, two leading receivers, its two best offensive linemen, and there's really no telling who's starting at QB in 2011. Oh, and most of the Penn State defense -- including two of three starting LBs -- is graduating too. Contrast that with Illinois , who found a star quarterback in freshman Nathan Scheelhaase this year and returns four of five starting offensive linemen. The Illini won't miss early declarant Mikel LeShoure much with Jason Ford (who's basically a human truck) waiting to take over at tailback. The defense will definitely miss Martez Wilson and Corey Liuget on the interior, on the other hand; those guys were anchors of a stout rushing defense and their backups are unremarkable. Still, Illinois' 2011 schedule looks primed for some upsets, and nine wins is hardly out of the question. If Wilson and Liuget were returning, Illinois would probably be in Dodd's Top 25, but it's not as if no borderline-Top 25 team has ever exceeded expectations after losing two juniors to the NFL.
3. Utah - Everything's going to come crashing down once Utah joins a "real" conference, right? Maybe not. If QB Jordan Wynn recovers from December shoulder surgery in time for the season (which he should, but six months of rehab can turn into nine without the patient doing anything wrong), he'll be a third-year starter with a reasonable set of returning players. Senior wideout/returner Shaky Smithson is sure to be missed, but this is college football; so it goes. And while Utah's schedule looks daunting, it really could be worse; the Utes miss both Oregon and Stanford in inter-divisional play, and neither BYU nor Pitt should be as tough of matchups as they'd have been over the past couple years. In addition, the schedule's pretty top-heavy, and it's easily possible that Utah wins at least five of six down the stretch. Head coach Kyle Whittingham keeps proving predictions wrong by not bolting for a paycheck elsewhere, and now he's got a chance to lead his Utes into battle in a real conference and destroy the "mid-major" label that's been dogging the program -- even through multiple BCS bowl wins! -- once and for all.
4. Oregon State - Meanwhile, in the Pac-12 North, the Oregon State Beavers have a chance to make noise. Yes, Oregon and Stanford are the class of the division and should remain so for the near future, but don't sleep on the passing skills of QB Ryan Katz , especially now that he'll have his first full season as a starter under his belt. With the game slowing down for him and with Markus Wheaton and James Rodgers both returning at WR (to say nothing of Joe Halahuni coming back at TE), Katz should be able to more effectively use his NFL-caliber arm to put some points up in Corvallis. The offense will miss Jacquizz Rodgers desperately, and while deserved, his jump to the NFL will likely cost the Beavers a win or two. So while the defense struggled in 2010 and stands to lose several seniors, it may not matter in a Pac-12 with several struggling offenses and an OSU attack that should set 30+ points per game as a goal. Scheduling a road date at Wisconsin might not have been the wisest idea, though. Still, look for a push from Oregon State to hit that eight-win mark, which against a schedule like this could mean a spot in the Top 25 when it's all said and done.
5. Tennessee - Dodd ranks eight SEC teams in his Top 25 (26, really, but whatever). We're not sure all will end up ranked at the end of the 2011 season, but one thing seems clear: of the four teams he left out -- Kentucky , Ole Miss , Tennessee , and Vanderbilt -- Tennessee's the closest thing to a contender of the four. No, the SEC East shouldn't spend its entire season on fire like last year, where South Carolina took the division trophy in a five-loss season, but Florida 's going to be experiencing major upheaval and Georgia will be missing A.J. Green (again). With Tyler Bray coming off a successful freshman campaign and returning starting RB Tauren Poole and deep threat wideout Justin Hunter , we could see the Vols make some noise. On defense, the only major loss is leading tackler Nick Reveiz ; Herman Lathers made strides along with the rest of the defense down the stretch, and the secondary returns intact. If there's ever a time to make a run in the East, it's -- well, okay, it was 2010. 2011's not a bad opportunity for the Vols either, though.
Tags: 2011 College Football, 2011 College Football Sleepers, 2011 Sleepers, 2011 Top 25, A.J. Green, Baylor, BYU, Corey Liuget, Florida, Georgia, Herman Lathers, Illinois, Jacquizz Rodgers, James Rodgers, Jarred Salubi, Jason Ford, Jay Finley, Joe Halahuni, Jordan Wynn, Justin Hunter, Kentucky, Kyle Whittingham, Markus Wheaton, Martez, Mikel LeShoure, Nathan Scheelhaase, Nick Reveiz, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Oregon State, Penn State, Philip Baker, Pitt, Pittsburgh, RG3, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Katz, Shaky Smithson, South Carolina, Stanford, Tauren Poole, Tennessee, Terrance Ganaway, Utah, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin
Posted on: January 11, 2011 12:28 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
On Monday Illinois lost one of its best players on defense to the NFL draft in Martez Wilson, and on Tuesday the Illini lost their biggest weapon on offense as well. Though it didn't come as much of a shock, Illinois can't be all that excited to hear that running back Mikel LeShoure will forego his senior season in Champaign and enter the NFL draft.
"I know it wasn't an easy choice," LeShoure's mother, Jazz Jones told the Champaign News-Gazette. "He did his homework as far as weighing his options. He looked at the pros and cons of leaving and the pros and cons of staying."
"[Ron Zook] said Mikel has proven to him that he is capable of anything. He wished Mikel well. He spoke very highly of the maturity Mikel has shown. He said he's going to do whatever he can to help my son. I appreciate what he has done for my son."
Unfortunately for Ron Zook, he'll not only have to replace LeShoure's production next season, but he can't even attend the press conference LeShoure will be announcing his decision at. It's being held in his former high school, and since it's the recruiting dead period, no coaches are allowed in any high schools right now. Not even for a press conference.
LeShoure is coming off the most prolific season in Illinois history as a running back, rushing for 1,697 yards and 17 touchdowns, including a 330 yard performance against Northwestern at Wrigley Field. He was also on the end of three receiving touchdowns.
Posted on: December 29, 2010 10:08 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Ron Zook got the first bowl victory of his career as Illinois handed Baylor a 38-14 loss in Houston.
Offense: This was likely Illinois' best all-around performance of the season since it beat Penn State, as both the offense and defense performed extremely well. We already knew that Illinois could get the job done on the ground, but Nathan Scheelhaase showed everybody why he has such a bright future on Wednesday night. The freshman completed 18-of-23 passes for 242 yards, while contributing 53 yards and a touchdown rushing. Of course, 55 of those yards came on one play in the closing seconds as he kept the ball on a bootleg and nobody from Baylor followed him. Still, as good as Scheelhaase was, Mikel LeShoure was the star of the show. LeShoure rushed for 184 yards and 3 touchdowns to set the Illinois single season marks for yards in a season and touchdowns. The Illini just had their way with Baylor all night long, racking up 533 total yards. Grade: A
Defense: Illinois' defense hasn't gotten as much respect as it probably deserved this season thanks to some rough games against Michigan and Minnesota, but this unit isn't nearly as mediocre as most people think. Case in point: On Wednesday night the Illini held a Baylor team that had averaged 32.6 points per game and 478.5 yards per game to 14 points. Corey Liuget and the defensive line were in Robert Griffin's face all night, and most importantly, got off the field on third down, allowing Baylor to convert only two of ten third downs. Grade: A
Coaching: After last season Ron Zook decided that if he wanted to keep his job and turn the Illinois program around he was going to have to start over. So he overhauled his coaching staff and brought on Paul Petrino and Vic Koenning to run the offense and the defense. Well, it paid off. Zook has the first bowl win of his career thanks to the game plans his coordinators drew up to stop Baylor, and suddenly things are looking good in Champaign again. Grade: A
Offense: Robert Griffin is a remarkable kid. I feel the need to make this point because I'm sure a lot of college football fans don't get the chance to see Baylor play all that often, but I assure you, the Robert Griffin you saw tonight was not the Robert Griffin the Big 12 saw most of the season. I'm not sure whether Baylor was nervous playing in its first bowl game in so long, but the Bears just didn't have it out of the gate on Wednesday night. They showed some flashes on offense in the second half, but they were few and far between, and just not in time. Any rhythm the team did pick up was quickly thrown off by penalties or bad decisions, and the Baylor offense that had shown up all season just never made its way to Houston. Some of this has to be attributed to Illinois' defense, but Baylor didn't do itself any favors. Grade: D
Defense: Was there that kid in your grade school that liked to beat up on younger, smaller kids during recess? You know, the fifth grader with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove to the second grader? Well, Illinois' offense was the fifth grader on Wednesday, and Baylor's defense was the second grader just lying on the ground hoping that a teacher would show up to break up the fight before he was dead. You got the feeling that Illinois could have let Baylor know what it was going to do before every play and Baylor still couldn't have stopped it. Grade: F
Coaching: There Baylor coaching staff isn't going to find much on the game film to be happy about when they get back to Waco. It was just a bad night and the coaching staff deserves some of the blame for the Bears coming out so flat to start the game. Still, considering what Art Briles has done at Baylor during his three years, and where this program could be going, it's hard for me to give Briles and company a terrible grade. Grade: C
I was hoping this game would be a shootout that would come down to who had the ball last, or at least the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. Instead it was a game that was pretty easy to figure out early, and felt more like a three and a half hour Illinois coronation ceremony. Which is nice for Illinois fans, but for the impartial observer, it's rather boring. Grade: D
Posted on: November 22, 2010 6:04 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2010 7:06 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Here are your three finalists for the 2010 Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation's top running back:
This process seems to be little more than a formality, as James is currently the nation's top yards-per-game rusher leading the nation's top-scoring offense on the nation's top-ranked team. If he doesn't win this award, there should be an immediate federal investigation. I am only mostly kidding.
The big question, of course, is what in the world is Clay doing on this list? Yes, he has missed two games, so his overall totals are going to be a bit underwhelming. But even taking that into account, Clay is only 19th in the nation (17th among running backs) in rushing yards per game; he's outperformed by Marcus Lattimore, Mikel LeShoure, and many other tailbacks. Clay's barely even the most productive running back on his own team; freshman teammate James White has 34 fewer yards on 44 fewer carries, and just as many rushing touchdowns. And teammate Montee Ball is currently outperforming both of them; in the three November games played thus far, Ball has rushed for 467 yards and nine scores.
Yes, Wisconsin's rushing game is a thing of terrible beauty at times, and it warrants praise and recognition, but this isn't a team award. And even if it's a deadbolt lock that LaMichael James takes this trophy home in December, it still would have been nice of the committee to offer up three actually worthy candidates.
Tags: 2010 Doak Walker, 2010 Doak Walker Finalists, Doak Walker Award, Doak Walker Finalists, James White, John Clay, John Clay Doak Walker, Kendall Hunter, Kendall Hunter Doak Walker, LaMichael James, LaMichael James Doak Walker, Marcus Lattimore, Mikel LeShoure, Montee Ball, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Wisconsin
Posted on: November 20, 2010 7:29 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Going in to Saturday's game between Northwestern and Illinois at Wrigley Field, all the talk surrounded the way the field was situated inside the stadium, and the fact that both offenses would move towards the west end zone due to safety concerns about the right field wall located directly behind the east end zone.
Because of all this, people were saying that the first football game to be played at Wrigley Field would probably be the last. After seeing Illinois beat Northwestern 48-27, I'm not sure that should be the case. Were there some odd circumstances surrounding this game? Of course, when you're playing inside a 96-year old baseball stadium, things are going to get a bit weird.
The truth is, though, that once the game kicked off, there wasn't anything all that different from a game that had been played in Champaign or Evanston. Fact is, there may not have been as many people in the seats had this game been played at either school's home stadium. Chicago is a big city, with a large contingent of college football fans. Fans that, for the most part, don't have much of a college football selection to choose from in town. The most popular team in the city, Notre Dame, plays it's games over two hours away from the city.
So having this game at Wrigley Field, in a city that many Northwestern and Illinois students and alumni call home, gave those fans a chance to see a game and sleep in their own bed that night.
Besides, did having both teams move towards the west -- The Manifest Destiny Bowl -- really hurt the game? Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald didn't seem to think so.
"I don't know how it looked on television," said Fitzgerald. "It didn't affect the flow of our game."
There's no doubt that Illinois running back Mikel LeShoure would want to play in Wrigley one again, either. The Illinois running back brought back memories of Gale Sayers running around Wrigley Field, rushing for 330 yards and two touchdowns.
LeShoure would love to come back next season. "I think it'd be fun," he said. "Especially after this game."
I can't help but agree with him.
Posted on: November 20, 2010 6:10 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2010 6:14 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Does it make me a bad person if I'm somewhat disappointed that nobody has run into the right field wall at Wrigley Field? We're through three quarters of action, with Illinois leading 34-24, and there hasn't been a single concussion caused by that wall. Not even a bruise!
Considering all the hoopla surrounding the wall in the week leading up to this game, it seems only right that somebody should get hurt because of it and allow everyone in the media a moment of "See? I told you so!" Yes, we have had a touchdown scored in the dark and mysterious east end zone, thanks to an interception return by Northwestern's Brian Peters, but I want to know if he was scared.
At any point, while streaking down the sideline, did he think to himself "Slow down, Brian. That wall is coming up quick." Did he not care? Did he consider stepping out of bounds at the 1-yard line just to be safe?
These are questions that the world needs answered.
Another question I'd like like to ask Peters following the game: did Mikel LeShoure have a sign that said "I'm a brick wall" taped on his chest, because your defense sure treated him like he did.
If Mikel LeShoure ran full speed into that brick wall, could it stop him?
We've still got 15 minutes to go in this game and LeShoure has 230 yards and two touchdowns. The Illini have 366 rushing yards as a team. Unless that wall starts playing defense for the Wildcats, this one may be over.