It is the next morning and the Illinois football loss to Indiana on Friday night still hurts greatly.
The Illini had Indiana. We were up by four points with under two minutes left in the game. This should have been a victory. But we shot ourselves in the foot one too many times.
Indiana would take advantage of the Illini mistakes. They would get the ball for one final drive, and the Hoosiers would put the ball in the end zone to put us away. Indiana would win the game 23-20.
Here are five observations from the Illinois football loss to Indiana.
1. Play calling got stale
Throughout much of the game, Illinois was doing their thing and mixing up the play-calling pretty well. But, over the last few drives, the Illini coaching staff got stale with their calls.
One issue I always had with the previous coaching regime was that they were too predictable. They would run it twice and then pass on third down. That is when the defense can tee off on the offense because they know a pass is coming.
That is what happened on Friday night. Illinois got too reliance on the running game, and on first and second down, Indiana would load the box. When third down came around, the Hoosiers would then drop back into coverage to give Tommy DeVito headaches.
In the first half of the game, Illinois was a balanced team. On first down, we ran the ball 10 times and passed the ball 10 times. That is the balance I want to see, but in the second half, things got a little out of balance. Illinois would run the ball 12 times on first down and only pass it nine times. Two of those nine passes were on the final drive, so we couldn’t run the ball. So, it was actually 12 runs to seven passes on first down.
Balance gives Illinois better results. We got away from our style in the second half. Hopefully, this is corrected moving forward.