In high school, homecoming weekend is loved by the students mainly because of the fact that the dance that is held. The girls get all prettied up and the guys focus on impressing their date for the night, hopefully being able to dance with the prettiest girl at the end of the night. College homecoming is completely different. College students are pumped up for the football game and to show as much school pride as possible. The football team prepares for this day to make all of the current students and alumni in attendance proud. Well that the Illinois Fighting Illini football team did. The Illini handedly issued the Indiana Hoosiers an in-conference loss by winning 43 to 13.
Now, if you read my last post, I almost perfectly predicted the way that the Illini defense would play. I predicted that the defense would allow 14 points in the game. I praised the defense in my post and they are just making me proud now that they basically shut down a potent quarterback. Hoosiers quarterback Ben Chappell threw for 30 yards less than his season average that is 310 yards per game. Chappell also threw for three interceptions, which was extremely detrimental for his team. Two of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns.
What I did not predict correctly was just how potent the offense of the Fighting Illini was. Nathan Scheelhaase had 123 yards passing, 45 yards rushing and had 2 touchdowns throwing the ball. The Illini’s usual stud on offense, Mikel LeShoure, had only 77 yards rushing, but averaged nearly 5 yards per carry and also got 1 touchdown. In my last post I pointed out how it was key for Scheelhaase to not lose the game for the Illini and he didn’t. He was 13 for 21 passing, not great numbers but also no interceptions, which is great.
The team definitely made all of the alumni at Memorial Stadium for Homecoming very proud. People placed a lot of doubt on this game because the talent of Ben Chappell and the Illini proved to us all that they are a team to reckon with. The Illini now have 4 wins and 3 losses, and most importantly are bowl-eligible. This season was definitely a question mark for Illini faithful and if the team was able to make a bowl game fans would be very impressed and encouraged for next year. If the team keeps up the way they have been playing lately then the Illini just might be able to dance with the pretty girl for the last dance.
About the Author
Written by Gregg Pluta
I am currently a sophomore in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.