They say Illinois Can’t Have Nice Things. Let’s examine further.
Nice Things Illinois Has/Had This Season, Updated For Week 8
- Lovie Smith and Garrick McGee
National attention(Week 3; after WMU, everyone stopped paying attention)
Undefeated record(Week 2; UNC)
Much higher attendance(Week 6; it’s amazing what a blowout loss to WMU will do)
- Middle linebacker Hardy Nickerson, Jr, who has been a bright spot.
An elite defensive line(It looks like I misled you all. This is a solid D-line at best. Dawuane Smoot hasn’t had nearly the impact I thought he would)
- Plans for a nine-figure stadium renovation
Runningback Ke’Shawn Vaughn (Entered Lovie’s doghouse in week 3)(Got snaps in the Wildcat in week 8)(I wish he hadn’t. It was weird and ineffective and he got hurt)
- Receiver Malik Turner, who has emerged as a solid Big Ten receiver
Receiver Desmond Cain(Hasn’t played since week 2)
Two-handedsenior receiver Justin Hardee (Droppy McDroppenstein)
- Speedy backs Reggie Corbin and Kendrick Foster, who have been surprising contributors
Quarterback Wes Lunt(Week 6 against Purdue; injured)
Defensive back Caleb Day(Week 2; ACL)
- A coach who doesn’t exacerbate the horror of a 2-5 start by looking like a doofus in press conferences
1-game winning streak against Nebraska(Week 5)
The Cannon(Week 6)
- An FBS win (Week 7)
- A conference win (Week 7. Thanks Rutgers!)
- A decent 2017 recruiting class, although recruiting is fluid...
- No losses to Rutgers since 2006
- Victory against the spread at Michigan (Week 8)
- Kicker Chase McLaughlin, who has been surprisingly accurate in his first year kicking. (Would have been nice if he’d made that game-winner against Purdue)
Homecoming with a potentially winnable game against Minnesota(Top 2 quarterbacks are out...)
- Grange Grove tailgate area. Big success.
- Hope for basketball; no losses yet.
Things That Are Not Necessarily Nice, But Are Still Things Illinois Still Has
- Fan Mood: Illinihilism
- Fewest first downs per game in the Big Ten
- The most penalized team in the conference (68.6 yards per game)
Capably mobile backup quarterback Chayce Crouch(Week 7; Thanks, Rutgers! Ugh. Hearing that his shoulder injury is “serious”
- Jeff George, Jr.