2. Cubit’s offensive gameplan has been solid at least. The Illini came out clicking on all cylinders, driving the length of the field following the opening kickoff, but sputtered down near the goal line. Cubit, in my opinion, made a mistake then as well, going for it on fourth-and-1 … in what really was a fourth-and-two from the 3. The OL wasn’t getting enough push up front to mandate such a challenge. They got down there with misdirection and quick-hitters. That being said, QB Wes Lunt’s pass into the end zone, a secondary option with RB Josh Ferguson covered in the flat, should have been handled by WR Geronimo Allison. All told, the Illini have 211 yards in the first 30 minutes … but only 7 points to show for it.
3. Ferguson is an electric playmaker, especially in tight spaces and for mid-range distances. But, surprisingly, he is not a burner for any extended distance. He got caught from behind on his 52-yard run to set up the team’s lone first-half score, and, really, what is that all about? As soon as he’s in the open field, you’d figure no one would be able to touch him. But he gets tracked down consistently once that happens. Oh, he’ll still gain considerable yardage, it’s just you’d like to see the play end with a TD instead of more yardage to go in order to reach the end zone. Too often on big plays, he leaves the door open for no scoring altogether by not getting in there once in the clear.
4. UNC’s OL is dominating what was considered to be the strength of the Illini D, its front. The Heels have 248 yards at intermission, with RB Elijah Wood looking like the big-time recruit he once was, and, really, the only thing that’s stopping them is the Illinois O racking up yards itself. QB Marquise Williams is proving to be a handful with his arm, legs and ball-fake skills. If not for Illini DB Eaton Spence’s first-quarter INT, the game would be a three-score difference instead of two.
5. I want to get on board with the “chill” of LB Mason Monheim and appreciate his work inside with T.J. Neal, but, the reality is, they’re not good enough players to have an impact at this level. It was almost comical to hear Monheim’s name being mentioned with Temple LB Tyler Matakevich as he the latter ranks No. 1 among active FBS career tacklers and the former No. 2. Umm, consider that the benefits of being a four-year starter. In no way is Monheim even in the same ballpark as a player.
- Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org