Here's the box score. My thoughts as the game transpired are set forth all too plainly below. Looking at the final box doesn't really change much. Astoundingly, IU ended up outgaining Illinois, 397-386, largely on the strength of a last-gasp, 75 yard drive by IU that ended with an endzone interception. Illinois ran the ball at will. Mendenhall is a handful, and IU did not defend the option well, particularly in the first half. I gave Isiah Williams some heat this week, and for the most part, he proved himself to be a terrible passer, but he managed a couple of nice downfield throws (his only nice downfield throws, as I recall) on Illinois's drive at the end of the first half. Illinois led 13-0, and IU scored its first touchdown with about 2 minutes left in the second quarter. IU was due to receive the second-half kickoff, so a defensive stop would have been a big deal. Instead, Williams looked like a quarterback on that drive, Illinois led 20-7, and really, the game was over at that point. IU never got closer than 13. I think the Illini will struggle to beat a team that is strong enough in the front 7 to stop the running attack with average manpower, because Isiah Williams cannot throw the ball. But the talent infusion is now obvious. The best team won.
As I said below, following IU football is similar to being Charlie Brown, really wanting to believe that Lucy is going to let us kick to ball this time. A win yesterday would have been a big moment for the program. Not only did the Hoosiers lose, but it really wasn't a close game. It won't help attendance or publicity or buzz. The Hoosiers still have a good chance to win six (home games against Minnesota and Ball State, on the road against Northwestern), but IU will need a significant upset to get to 7 wins, which may be necessary for a bowl bid.