Saturday, September 22, 2007

Big disappointment

IU may have been the underdog, but they easily could have won this game. Turnovers killed almost every promising drive in the game. The offense never got off the mat in the first half. This was one of the games IU had to win to get bowl eligible.

The Hoosiers are 3-1 now, 0-1 in the Big Ten. They had 403 total yards. But if you keep giving Illinois a short field, the points will be scored without having to move the ball a whole lot.

The schedule does not get any easier. Next week, IU travels to Iowa and then plays Minnesota in Bloomington. And now the Ball State game doesn't look like a layup, given their performance today against Nebraska in Lincoln. Amazing how one loss can change your tune. But I will try to remain hopefull they can bounce back.

Two scores down

Lewis runs on first down to the 5. It's a first down and the clock stops. IU lines up and Lewis spikes the ball. 1:17 left.

Lewis throws into the end zone and its intercepted. Game over.

Illinois has the ball again

They are trying to run the clock. First down is a run for a couple yards. 4:20 to go.

Second and 8, its a short gain. Third down and 4. IU calls time out. The defense stops them. Punt upcoming, but the clock is running...

The punt goes out of bounds at the 20. First down Indiana. Lewis throws to Walker-Roby for a gain of 7. Lewis throws to Payton for a first down. He stepped out of bounds. First down. Lewis throws incomplete. Second and 10 from the 31. Lewis throws incomplete again. Third and 10. Lewis throws incomplete. Fourth down. 2:41 to go. Lewis runs for the first down and is tackled near midfield.

On first down Lewis throws incomplete. Second and 10. Lewis throws deep and incomplete. Third down. Lewis hits Sears for the first down near the Illinois 38. He got out of bounds. About 2 minutes to go. On first down, Thigpen runs for a few yards up the middle. Lewis throws to Bailey for a first down again at the 25. 1:41 to go.

Lewis throws to Hardy for a 9-yard completion and IU calls time out. They are at the Illinois 25 now.

Nebraska has closed to 37-35.

More IU offense

The ball is at the IU 38. First and 10 after Illinois' third turnover. 5:24 to go. IU has three timeouts.

Lewis throws to Brandon Walker-Roby, who gets into Illinois territory. From the Illinois 40, Lewis throws incomplete on first down. Second and 10. Lewis rolls right and fumbles, but IU keeps the ball. It's a loss back to the Illinois 47. Third and 17. Under 5 minutes. Lewis throws incomplete, bringing up fourth and long.

They have to go for it. Lewis throws incomplete. Turnover on downs. That may do it, barring a miracle.

Where was that in the third quarter?

IU doesn't try the on-side kick. It goes into the end zone. First down for Illinois at the 20. Williams keeps and is stopped for no gain. Second down is a pitch for a big gain into IU territory. A 39-yard gain on an option play. We've seen that before...

On first down, another run for 3 yards. Clock is running. Second down is a QB keeper for 2 more. Third and 5. The defense forces a fumble and recovers. Some life now?

Ball St. leads Nebraska 37-28 in the fourth quarter now.

After a good return

IU is trying to move the ball. It's inside the Illinois 30 now. Second down after a loss on a running play. Lewis throws incomplete in the end zone. Third down and 10. Lewis throws to James Bailey who dives into the end zone for a TOUCHDOWN!. With the extra point, Illinois leads 27-14. Under 8 minutes to go.

Hope now with the defense

The defense may need to get a turnover for a touchdown to keep IU in the game.11:44 to go.

On first down, Illinois gets no gain. Second and 10. Another hand-off is a loss of 4. Third and long. The gain is only a few. Illinois will punt. Can the offense get something going?

Ball State took the lead against Nebraska again: 31-28.

Need a score right now

For any chance, IU has to score on this drive. There's less than 13 minutes to go in the game and IU is down 3 scores.

IU will start from the 31 yard line. Lewis throws incomplete on first down. Lewis throws incomplete again. Third down. Illinois is really trying to pressure Lewis now. He has had defensive guys in his face all day. Lewis is sacked. Fourth down. The punt is taken near the 30.

IU with the ball to start the fourth quarter

Nebraska just took the lead over Ball State with a touchdown.

Meanwhile, IU has the ball, first and 10 on its own 18. We're getting close to must-score time.

Lewis runs, but only gets 2. Second and 8. Lewis throws to Hardy, who catches it and fumbles. Illinois recovers the fumble. Hope is fading here. IU has 4 turnovers.

Illinois has the ball at the IU 27. One more score and it may be over. The first down play is a hand-off for 7 yards. Second and 3. Another run, and it is a first down at the IU 17. Another run, this one for 4 yards. Second and 6. Williams runs the option and pitches. It goes for another first down at the IU 6. A touchdown could put the game away. They only need one more play. Touchdown. With the extra point, Illinois leads 27-7.

Illinois in IU territory

On first down, it's a gain of three to the 41. Second down. Williams throws incomplete. The receiver was open, but he did not catch the ball. Third down. Williams throws incomplete again. Fourth down.

The Illinois offense has sputtered, but IU can't take advantage so far. How big is that TD right at the end of the first half.

The punt goes out of bounds at the 3. Lewis gives to Sears on first down for a gain of 2. Sears gets the ball again and runs for a first down. Third quarter is over. Illinois is still up 20-7.

Defense back on the field

Illinois gains three on first down. Second and 7. Williams runs the option and pitches the ball. IU makes the tackle for a loss. Third and 10. Williams throws and completes the pass, but it's short of the first down. Illinois decides to punt. It goes into the end zone. IU gets the ball at the 20 late in the third quarter.

On first down, Thigpen runs for a short gain of 3. Second and 7. Lewis throws incomplete. Means was open, according to the radio, but the pass is knocked down. Third and 7. Lewis throws incomplete. It was almost intercepted. Punt the ball again. Illinois muffs the fair catch. Flag is thrown. IU interfered with the catch. Illinois keeps the ball.

The Illinois drive continues

After the time out, it's Second and long. The Illinois left tackle is hurt. Williams runs the option and its a gain of one again. Third and 8. The crowd is getting into it. Williams throws incomplete. Illinois is going to punt.

Shocker in the making: Ball State is leading Nebraska 17-14.

Illinois has more than 200 yards rushing now. IU has 229 yards of TOTAL offense.

The punt takes IU back inside the 10. It's first and 10 from the 7. Lewis gives to Payton, who gets to the 27 yard line. Nice play. First down again. Lewis throws to Fisher, who gains 1 yard. Second and 9. Payton gets the hand-off again and loses 1. Third and 10. Lewis rolls and throws at Means, but it's incomplete. Another punt. Illinois gets the ball at its own 32.

IU has the ball again

The interception is returned to the 33. First and 10. Lewis throws at Hardy, but its overthrown. Second down. Lewis throws to Hardy over the middle for a gain of 5. Third and 5. Lewis is sacked. Punt the ball.

The punt takes Illinois back to the 15 yard line, where the tackle is made.

ESPN2 switched to the Syracuse-Louisville game. It's 21-14 Syracuse with 6:21 to go in the third quarter. Huh?

First down is a hand-off for Illinois and a gain of a couple. Second and 8. Williams takes it and gains only one. Third and 7. It's an inside hand-off for a first down. Another hand-off for about a yard. Time out is called for an Illinois player injured.

Going from bad to worse

IU is in danger of getting blown out here. On first down Williams throws to the end zone. Incomplete. On second down, it's a run for about 7 yards. Third and 3 from inside the 20. It's a run for a touchdown. Illinois is called for holding, so the score is taken away. Third and 7 now from the 22. From the shotgun, Williams throws and its intercepted by Tracy Porter. Huge play to keep IU in the game.

Second half underway...

Even though Illinois has done real well in the first half. IU is only down by 13. A touchdown and a defensive stop early in the third quarter will help a bunch.

IU gets the ball to start the third quarter on the 25 yard line. First down, Thigpen takes it for a gain of 9. Second and 1. Thigpen gets it again and goes for the first down. Gain is about four yards.

First down. Lewis throws to Means for a gain of 6 to the 45 yard line. Second and 4. Lewis throws again, but Thigpen can't catch it. Third and 4. Need a conversion here. Lewis throws to Fisher, who is knocked down. Flag thrown. Penalty is against Illinois and it gives IU a first down at the 49.

On first down, Lewis throws the ball away and is flagged for grounding. The ball didn't get to the line of scrimmage. Second down and 16 from the 43. Lewis tries to throw, but is sacked again for a loss of 3. Third and a mile. Lewis throws deep to Hardy, but it's incomplete. Fourth down is a punt.

A good start to the drive, but a bad finish. Illinois blocks the punt and recovers the ball at the IU 25.


The stats remain close, but Illinois is executing better on offense. The IU defense needs to force some three-and-outs, just so they don't tire in the fourth quarter.

IU has 142 yards passing and 211 total yards, while Illinois has 170 yards rushing and 264 total yards, according to the ESPN box score. The time of possession is about even.

It is going to come down to the defense in the second half. If they can't stop the Illini offense, it's going to be more of the same.

Not a good way to end the half

The IU offense is getting into rhythm, but the defense hasn't figured out how to stop them yet.

IU gets the ball at the 25 on the kick-off. 37 seconds to go.

Lewis throws to Means for a first down. 30 seconds left. Lewis hits Hardy at midfield who gets out of bounds. Is there something going here?

First down again. Lewis throws to Fisher, who gets out of bounds at the Illinois 42. 16 seconds to go. Lewis throws to Hardy, but its incomplete. Hardy couldn't stay in bounds. 9 seconds to go. IU calls timeout.

There's maybe enough time for two more plays. IU still has one more timeout.

Lewis hits Thigpen over the middle for a gain to the 39. IU calls timeout again. It would be a 57-yard field goal. Likely a hail mary coming...

Lewis can't find anyone and is sacked for a 23-yard loss. Halftime. IU is down 20-7.

After the touchdown...

We're nearing the end of the half.

Illinois continues to move the ball. They are in IU territory again. With 1:13 to go, Illinois is on the 34 yard line. The Illinois kicker can hit them from 50+ yards. Third and 6. Williams completes the pass to the 15 yard line. First down. Williams throws, but the receiver was out of bounds. Second down. Williams throws in the flat and it goes for a touchdown. It was a screen pass that came against a blitz. The extra point is good. Illinois leads 20-7.

The Hoosier drive continues...

West Virginia is on the blow-out trail, up 24-0.

A hand-off gets the ball to the Illinois 15. Lewis throws to Hardy, who gets to the 7 on first down. A gain of 8. Second and 2. Lewis throws to the end zone, Means can't catch it. Third and 2. Six points would be nice on this drive...

Lewis throws to Hardy, who makes the catch for a TOUCHDOWN!!! That's better...

The extra point is good. Illinois leads 13-7.

Offense needs to get in gear...

The IU offense needs to put some points on the board. The two turnovers were killers. They easily could have resulted in 14 points.

I needed a time out for a phone call. IU is moving the ball. They are inside the Illinois territory on the 41. A screen pass on second down leads to another first down. Now they're rolling...

First down at the 30. Lewis throws to Hardy, who juggles it and then a defender knocks it away. Second down. Time out is called for an Illini injury.

Hoosiers in trouble...

The defense has got to figure out this Illinois offense. It is eating them alive right now.

IU gets the ball at the 35 after the kick-off. On first down, Thigpen runs for one yard. Second and long. Lewis throws incomplete. Third and 9. Lewis runs up the middle for a first down to about the 47. Lewis runs again, this time to the Illinois 33. Radio call says the officials missed a late hit. Lewis slide at the end of the run and was hit, but no flag.

First down. Lewis runs the reverse to Ray Fisher, and it goes to the 17 yard line. The ball comes loose and Illinois gets it. The play is being reviewed...IU thinks Fisher was down before the ball came out.

Reviews says its a fumble. Illinois gets it. First down. Hand-off goes for about 3. Second and 7 at the 20. Williams is hit and throws it away before he is brought down. No grounding because it goes across the line of scrimmage. Third down and long. Williams runs up the middle for a first down.

Somebody stop this guy. It was a gain of 15 on third and 7.

Another run for about 6 on first down. The second down throw goes for a first down at the 47. Williams throws incomplete to bring up second down. A run for no gain forces a third and 10.

How about a stop to force a punt? Williams throws and it's incomplete. The Hoosier defender knocked it away. Illinois decides to punt. IU gets it at the 21.

After the punt...

The first quarter is over. Illinois leads 6-0.

There's not much to talk about as far as IU is concerned. The offense can't move the ball on the Illini side of the field. But the defense has forced two field goals after allowing two drives deep into their territory. Two big problems: IU averaged 2.7 yards per rush and Illinois averaged 6.1. That has to change.

West Virginia just went up 17-0 on ECU.

Illinois takes the ball at the 20 after the punt goes into the end zone. On first down, the hand-off goes for a gain of 2. Second and 8. Williams runs the option, makes the pitch and Illinois picks up the first down even though the runner dropped the ball.

First down. Again. The hand-off goes for 6 yards. On second down, it's another first down gain of 6.

My kingdom for a stop...

On first down, the Hoosiers make the stop for a yard. Second and 9. Williams throws in the flat and play goes for a first down. Illinois has crossed mid-field again. A quick snap and IU isn't ready. It's another first down. IU is flagged for illegal substitution, but the penalty is declined. The ball is at the 33.

The hand-off goes for another 8 yards to the 25. Second and short. Williams throws complete again and its another first down at the 21. Williams runs the option again and it goes inside the 10 to the 5 yard line. First and goal. They get it to the 2 on a hand-off. Williams throws to the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point is good. Illinois leads 13-0.

IU needs a good offensive drive here...

IU takes the ball at the 20 after the kick-off goes into the end zone. McCray is hurt. Radio guys say he's questionable. More than 35,000 in the house today.

On first down, IU gains 8, but is called for holding. That makes it first and 14. The penalty is from the spot of the foul. Payton runs for 6 on first down. Second and 8. Lewis runs for about 3 on second down. It's third and 3. Means picks up the first down on a pass from Lewis.

Lewis runs the option and keeps. He gains a few. On second down, Lewis fumbles, picks it up and throws to Means. He takes it across midfield for a first down. It's a gain of 19 on the busted play.

First down again. A reverse to Means goes for a good gain to the Illinois 44. Second and 5. Lewis throws for Means, but it's incomplete. Third down. IU calls timeout. This is another big play early.

UNC is on the board now. It's 14-3 South Florida.

Illinois has brought it's band to the game. I guess Champaign is close enough for them to travel to Bloomington. After the timeout, Lewis is sacked. Another punt.

IU defense back on the field

We'll see if the defense made some adjustments. So far, total yards are about even. Illinois has done almost all of their work on the ground. They have only 2 yards passing.

USF is up 14-0 now.

On first down, Williams runs for 6 yards. Second and 4. Illinois gets another 6 yards. First down. The pass is behind the receiver and incomplete. Second and 10. Williams completes the pass. He catches, then drops it, but it is not ruled a fumble. Third and long. Illinois runs for the first down on a gain of 16. It was a draw play. Illinois is in IU territory now. On first down, Juice Williams runs for 6 again. Did I mention the need for a defensive adjustment?

On second down, Illinois gets another big gain. This time 11 yards. Another first down. Another run, but the Hoosiers stop him for a loss of 2. It's second and 12 near the IU 28. Williams runs for 2, but it's third and 10. Early big play here...

From the shotgun, Williams throws incomplete. Another field goal attempt. This one should be about 45 yards. It's good again. Illinois leads 6-0.

IU offense needs to respond

Not a bad effort by the defense to hold Illinois to a field goal after the pass interference penalty. But Illinois seems to be finding some holes in the IU run defense. The Hoosiers may need to make some adjustments.

USF already is up 7-0 on Carolina. WVU is on the goal line, already up 3-0. It didn't take long to make it 10-0.

IU takes the kick to about the 30. First down, and Demetrius McCray gains three on the hand-off. Second down and Lewis throws to Andrew Means. He can't catch it, but Illinois is flagged for pass interference. First down IU.

Ball is at midfield. Lewis rolls left and throws incomplete. The ball is short and knocked away, according to the radio guys. Second down. Bryan Payton runs for no gain. Third and 10. Lewis rolls right and gets sacked. Fourth down. Time to punt. Illinois runs it to about the 35 after a bouncing punt.

Illinois driving

On first down, Juice Williams runs for a gain of two. Second down is a gain of 15 and Illinois gets inside the 30. Williams throws incomplete on first down. It's second and 10 from the 23. Williams is sacked for a loss of 5. It's third and 15 from the 28. A stop here would make it a tough field goal attempt. The pass is incomplete. Fourth down. Illinois is going to try a 42-yard field goal. It's good. Illinois leads 3-0.

After the turnover..

Kellen Lewis takes the ball for 20 yards on first down into Illinois territory. The next play is a 17-yard pass to Josiah Sears. First down is an incomplete pass. Marcus Thigpen fumbles the ball on the second down hand-off and Illinois recovers. Not a good start for the running game...

Illinois's offense is back on the field. First down is a short pass for a gain of two. Second and 8. The Illini run for six yards, bringing up third and 2. Williams runs on an option play to the 45 for a first down. It's a gain of four.

Four wide receivers and Williams throws another deep ball. It's knocked away, but IU is called for pass interference. The radio says it's marginal, but probably a good call. Illinois now has a first down at the IU 41.

First drive

IU kicks off to start the game. The hair dryer problem has been resolved.

Return is to the 25, where Illinois will begin.

Juice Williams is the Illinois QB. This team likes to run the ball, according to the radio.

First down, option run to the 42. Not a good start for the defense. First down, and Illinois throws deep, but Tracy Porter strips the ball and takes it away. IU grabs the ball at its own 31 yard line. That's how you make up for it...

IU-Illinois kick-off

I'm back in the man-cave, next to my radio, after a week off. A surprising South Florida team, ranked 23rd this week, is playing North Carolina on ESPN. The deuce has West Virgina and East Carolina.

A momentary delay in the radio call ... the man-cave has been invaded by a female who is using a hairdryer.

Kick-off momentarily...

IU-Illinois statistical comparison

Check out the numbers for Indiana and Illinois side-by-side. Maybe that's why the odds-makers have this game so close. Interesting...both teams are in the top ten in rushing yards per game at 258.7 (IU) and 258 (Ill.) yards per game. IU is averaging about 12 more points per game, however.

Scoring fact: Since 2001, IU is 6-0 when scoring 40 or more points, Illinois is 9-0.

Kick-off expected in less than 30 minutes...

Friday, September 21, 2007

IU v. Illinois Game Day

Let conference play begin. The Hoosiers are three games short of a bowl, but few people are thinking about that now. The more important thing is IU is 3-0 and faces a very winnable game at noon tomorrow in Bloomington. The game is on Big Ten Network, so get to your local satellite-enabled television.

Looking at its two games against BCS teams (Missouri and Syracuse) Illinois seems susceptible to the pass. During it's opening weekend loss to the Tigers, Mizzou QB Chase Daniel threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns. And Syracuse QB Andrew Robinson threw for 208 yards in a 41-20 Illini victory. Of the 286 yards, Syracuse gave up, 223 came through the air. That means IU QB Kellen Lewis and receiver James Hardy should have some room to throw and catch the ball.

Illinois has been successful running the ball. Against Missouri, then rolled up 119 yards and against Syracuse they amassed 378 yards and four touchdowns. Most of IU's defensive problems have come through the air, but some of that has to do with IU running out to big leads early. And IU took over last week's game against Akron in the second half, forcing the Zips to throw.

Illinois QB Juice Williams has a 109.1 passer rating so far this year, with 279 yards and one TD. He also has rushed for 117 yards in three games. Lewis, by comparison, has a 151.4 rating, with 643 yards and nine TDs.

The Hoosiers have home-field advantage and the line is close. I think they take this game.