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Illinois vs. Nice Things Week 8: Illinihilism Sets In

Can Illinois have nice things?

NCAA Football: Illinois at Michigan
Are nice things downfield? (Nope)
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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-handed senior 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.