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Turnovers Aren't Everything
Illini: 7 24 12 10 53
Pittsburgh: 17 10 7 0 34
In the beginning, this game appeared as though it would be from a different chapter of the same book for the Illini. Pittsburgh would take the ball after winning the coin toss and score quickly, Tate Forcier would follow up with an interception on his first pass of the game, and Pittsburgh would put up a field goal. Once again, Illinois was down two scores before the fans in attendance had a chance to wipe off the water on their seats. The similarities would not cease there, as Illinois would proceed to commit a second turnover before the end of the first quarter.
The lone difference between this game and the previous two for the Illini is that they were able to move the ball effectively for the limited time that they were in possession of it. In the second quarter, they were able to move the ball to the tune of 24 points. Led by Tate Forcier winging the ball all over the field and Jon Justice providing a more than adequate complementary rushing attack, Illinois was able to overcome 3 first half turnovers (and the 17 points off of them) and take a 31-27 lead into the break. At this point Forcier was 12-13 passing, with his lone miscue being the interception on his first pass of the game - a pick that may not have happened had he not been hit during his pass.
In the second half, the Illini defense lived up to the expectations set before them at the beginning of the season. Outside of one long pass play created by the corner slipping on the wet turf, the Illini were able to shut out the Panthers in the second half. Not only were they able to shut out Pittsburgh, however, the defense was even able to put up 2 points on a safety by Buchanan.
Speaking of points, that's all the Illini did in the second half. Illinois would use a solid mixture of passes and runs to put themselves in the redzone, from where Justice, James, and Forcier were able to do the rest. Illinois had 9 trips to the redzone in this game, and converted 8 of them into points (5 TDs, 3 FGs).
Tate Forcier will be in contention for Big Ten player of the week for his performance in this game. He finished the game with 405 yards and 4 touchdowns on 19-22 passing. For those of us who still can't figure out the QB Rating equation: thats a rating of 291.9. He was able to spread the ball around as well, as each of his touchdowns had different recipients and seven players finished the game with at least one reception and Jon Justice had a phenomenal game for the Illini as well: 207 yards on 23 carries with a touchdown.
So yes, the Illini once again lost the turnover battle in embarrassing fashion. They handed Pittsburgh the ball and points 4 times, whereas the Panthers committed only one in the last minute while trying to battle back into the game. Looking at the turnovers for the season, Illinois has given it up 4 times per game, and the pick by Hawthorne was the first one for the Illini all season. That's a staggering -11 turnover ratio for the season. By comparison, coming into this week the next worse team was Toledo with a turnover differential of -5. But even if you lose the turnover battle 4-1, it doesn't matter so long as you finish with the bigger number on the scoreboard as the Illini did today. Next up for Illinois, a week off to fix some of their problems before jumping into their Big 10 opener vs. Michigan State.
Welcome to Week 3!
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=============== #13 Arizona Wildcats (1-0) ===============
Last week the Wildcats were idle.
This week, the Wildcats will host #12 Oklahoma (1-1).
=============== Illinois Fighting Illini (0-2) ===============
Last week, Illinois lost 33-28 against BYU (1-0).
This week, the Fighting Illini will host Pittsburgh (1-1).
=============== #9 Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0) ===============
Last week, Iowa won 37-24 against Iowa State (1-1).
This week, the Hawkeyes will host #11 UCLA (1-0).
=============== #18 Texas A&M Aggies (1-0) ===============
Last week the Aggies were idle.
This week, the Aggies travel to Eugene to face the #22 Oregon Ducks (2-0).
=============== #25 Missouri Tigers (2-0) ===============
Last week, Missouri won 17-12 against Tennessee (0-2).
This week, the Tigers travel to Corvallis to face the #10 Oregon State Beavers (1-0).
In recruiting news, the following Missouri targets have announced their decisions:
- (****) WR Marcus Bower has committed to Missouri
=============== #12 Oklahoma Sooners (1-1) ===============
Last week, Oklahoma lost 35-28 against Wisconsin (2-0).
This week, the Sooners travel to Tucson to face the #13 Arizona Wildcats (1-0).
=============== #1 Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0) ===============
Last week, Ohio State won 45-21 against Texas (1-1).
This week, the Buckeyes travel to South Bend to face the #19 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (0-2).
In recruiting news, the following Ohio State targets have announced their decisions:
- (*****) C Nathan Rogers has committed to Michigan
=============== #22 Oregon Ducks (2-0) ===============
Last week, Oregon won 34-14 against Utah (0-1).
This week, the Ducks will host #18 Texas A&M (1-0).
=============== #10 Oregon State Beavers (1-0) ===============
Last week the Beavers were idle.
This week, the Beavers will host #25 Missouri (2-0).
=============== #7 Texas Longhorns (1-1) ===============
Last week, Texas lost 45-21 against Ohio State (2-0).
This week, the Longhorns travel to Fort Worth to face the TCU Horned Frogs (0-1).
=============== #11 UCLA Bruins (1-0) ===============
Last week the Bruins were idle.
This week, the Bruins travel to Iowa City to face the #9 Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0).
=============== #2 Wisconsin Badgers (2-0) ===============
Last week, Wisconsin won 35-28 against Oklahoma (1-1).
This week, the Badgers will host #23 West Virginia (0-1).
In recruiting news, the following Wisconsin targets have announced their decisions:
- (*****) C Nathan Rogers has committed to Michigan
- (****) HB Willie Beach has committed to Fresno State
The Big 10 strikes again as Iowa takes down UCLA in Iowa City 31-17. I'll let the victor give the details but it was a pretty good game. The first half was close but a long pass and late TD put the Hawkeyes up 7 at the break. In the 2nd half, it was all Iowa as the Bruins couldnt muster much on offense. 3rd down passing was the key to the UCLA demise as omegas Iowa team converted on 8/11 3rd downs, a lot of those being of the 3rd and long variety. All and all it was a good game and the Bruins will learn from this road game and hopefully rebound next week with Pac 10 play starting and Washington State coming to town.
Sorry, gotta say it.....GO COUGS!
They are going to feel the wrath of a pissed off and disappointed UCLA squad! Cougar soup when we are done with them!
Iowa coach was pleased in our showing against a 'real' opponent this season but I lost my stud rb Coker for 7 weeks. Fortunately for me my true freshman hb Chad Mason played extremely well but Coker will be missed. QB Huff played huge in this game and is playing like a boss with big plays on 3rd down when we needed him. The score before the half was the turning point of the game in my opinion .The Defense is much improved from last year and did an outstanding job in the 2nd half.
LongHorns Proven Better Than FrogHorns
Longhorns dominated with defense and Rushing. Passing game still needs work. HB Whaley busted off 186 yards and a TD on 15 carries. Most of the passing game came on one 80 bomb to WR Mike Davis. The longhorn Defense scored enough points to win the game without any help from the offense. They had 2 TD and one 95 yard int return that fell just short of a TD. The longhorns enjoy the spoils of victory after being humiliated in week 2.
#25 Missouri 21
#10 Oregon State 24
After jumping out to an early, Oregon State needed to show the heart of a champion as they came from behind to beat Missouri. The game started really well for the Tigers as they marched the ball down the field and got near the goaline. On a third down play Gabbertt threw an apparent touchdown pass, but it was called back on a holding penalty. The Tigers then were stopped when third down was replayed, but chose to go for it on Oregon State's two yard line. Then disaster struck. The Tigers ran an option play, and Gabbert fumbled the ball with the Tigers recovering it on their Beavers' 10, but were force to give it up because of downs. It was unclear if Gabbert was trying to pitch the ball or not. It appeared on replays that DE Fred Thompson stripped the ball from Gabbert's hand causing the ball to be fumbled.
On the Beavers opening drive they took the ball down the field with a mix run and pass which resulted in a 11 yard Malcolm Marable TD run. On Mizzou's next possession diaster struck again. Gabbert dropped back to pass, was hit and fumbled the ball. The ball laid on the ground for what it seemed an eternity, but DE Fred Thompson was able to scoop up the ball and run 46 yards for a touchdown. Oregon State then had a chance to extend their lead right before half, but Mannion was picked off in the endzone giving Missouri the momentum. Mizzzou marched the ball down the field very quickly scoring a touchdown before halftime. Then in the second half they continued their scoring with two more touchdowns giving them the lead 21-14. Then Oregon State should why they are ranked in the top 10, QB Sean Mannion and RB Malcolm Marable lead the Beavers down the field. The drive opened up with several Marable runs, and then the famous "Jet Sweep Pass" was called with Mannion hitting TE Tyler Perry for a big gain. Mannnion was not done with Perry because two plays later Perry caught a 14 yard TD pass to tie the game.
On Mizzou's next drive they were forced to punt after the Beavers sacked Gabbert near midfield. Oregon State had the ball with less than two minutes to go and needed a field goal to win. The Beavers were able to get the field goal in large part to a 48 yard pass from Mannion to Matt Wilkinson. This pass put the ball on the Tiger's 23 yard line. The Beavers hit Wilkinson again for a 20 yard gain, and then let the game clock tick down, and then had Ernest Wiliams kick the game winner as time expired.
Folks, Mizzou is going to be tough this year, RB Kevin Coleman is fast, and Gabbert is a stud a QB. That fumble at the goalline was probably the difference in the game.
I cannot agree more. This is not the same Missouri team I beat twice last year. They are much faster, and they dont make nearly as many mistakes. Those of you in the Big XII - watch out. Missouri has a good chance at taking down Texas / OU and winning the Big XII.
We play them week 14. Well see how fast they are
The Mountaineers played one hell of a game in Mad Town. The Badgers struck first, as two fumbles by West Virgina in rainy conditions lead to a Rdogers TD and a scoop & score by OLB Moore. The fortunes would turn, as a Budmayr pick and Williams fumble at the WV 3 would make it 17-14 WVU at half. The fumble at the 3 hurt, as the Mountaineers stormed 97 yards in 2 minutes right before the half. "I was mad at our D giving up big gains like that. That was a 14 point swing right there." First drive of the 3rd, White ripped off a 51 yard TD, but WV answered right back with a 52 yard TD run. Budmayr, who already had 3 picks, was able to find some comfort in the pocket and made a drive lead to a FG. While it only garnered 3 points, the confidence would come in handy late. Wisconsin would finally take the lead in the 4th, going up 31-24. WVU was able to get in a TD with 52 seconds. That confidence build up by Budmayr paid dividends in the end, as he orchestrated a drive to put Wisconsin in FG range. But White wasnt gonna leave it to the kicker, as he scored from 28 yards out, sealing the victory. Wisconsin gets some rest time before a highly rated Michigan team comes to Camp Randall.
#2 Wisconsin 38 - #23 West Virgina 31
Well, I think the Big Ten has successfully shown itself to be better than the Big East...
Wisconsin def. West Virginia
Illinois def. Pittsburgh
#18Texas A&M 21 @ #22Oregon 23
The tale of the tape would leave you wondering "who won the game?". Let's view some of the numbers:
First Downs 15-15
Total Offense 289-293
Completions/yds/tds 18/248/1 - 16/166/1
Rush yds/tds 41/2 - 127/1
3rd down 6-12 - 5-11
Turnovers 0 - 0
So what was the difference? Well there were a couple. First the Aggies inability to create a turnover in the red zone, something they were very good at last year and had multiple chances to do in this one. Second, the lack of a kicker from 40+, as the Aggies settled for a punt late in the 1st half after thinking about going for it on 4th and 12, and then missed on a 4th down from about the 30 in the 3rd.
But the most critical difference came with 30 seconds left. Even though the turnovers read 0-0 in the column, there was one. A two point conversion that got intercepted in the endzone. Coaches are blaming themselves for a stagnant play call, leaving the freshman Howell with the option of running, but not really anywhere to throw it. "We tried to get our best player on offense (rb DJ Jones) matched up with a linebacker, which happened, but we got the wrong one to take him. We were hoping for the outside backer to take him and cut across his face, but the inside backer dropped perfectly, and the outside guy spied the qb. The real problem was that we had no other options because the call was for 2 curls and 2 flats instead of getting one of the outside wrs to come to the middle of the field. That's our fault."
Oregon had taken a 23-7 lead early in the 4th, to seemingly put it away, but had some issues defending on key downs late, leading to a wild finish. UO's running game was stellar, and their qb played very efficiently, which lead to 3 fgs to stretch the lead and a big 3rd down conversion late in the 3rd that ultimately led to the td to make the biggest deficit of the game for TAMU.
Meanwhile TAMU ran well at times, but had to abandon it after falling behind by so much, until the redzone. The freshman qb Howell played very well, and unfortunately had his receivers fail him on a couple of big plays, one a would be touchdown drop and another a 3rd down drop. Also his line let up from time to time, ending in huge sacks and a frustrated and banged up qb, as he had to leave the game two separate times. "I was running for my life on a lot of downs. I don't want to blame anyone but blitzes killed us today, and there's no way on a roll-out that I should get sacked by the D-end. Just no way. It was a missed assignment and that's all I'll say, but we have to fix it. Got one week." And Howell said that because the Aggies roll into Columbus this week, and I think we all know that without a flawless game, not to mention a freshman qb, you're up against it in the Shoe.
@ Dakota. Heck of a game. Sure you wish you coulda finished a couple more drives with 6. You had a very balanced approach and stuck with it. It was a good play, since my line isn't what they used to be last year.
Thanks man, good game. You made a good comeback, I'm mad I didn't get that first down with a minute and a half left, but you made a good defensive call. Nice write up too. Glad we finally played.
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