The Illini had a bye week last weekend, and hopefully they used the time off to fix a few things that have been going wrong. Sure, the season opening loss to the Missouri Tigers hurt, but Missouri is a very good football team and a loss to them is nothing to be ashamed of. What's worrisome about this Illini team is the struggles they had in their two games since.
When you schedule games against teams like Eastern Illinois and Louisiana-Lafayette, you don't do so looking for much of a challenge. Instead, they're really not supposed to be anything but glorified practices as a team gets ready for it's conference schedule. Well, while the Illini came out of both of those games with a victory, they weren't exactly impressive wins.
Which is probably why head coach Ron Zook has started calling out his players, including quarterback Juice Williams and wide receiver Arrelious Benn. If the Illini are going to follow up last season's trip to the Rose Bowl, the team is going to have to start playing a lot better, and they're going to have to start tonight.
Illinois will be playing the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday night in Happy Valley, and it's a Nittany Lions team that looks like a real threat to win the Big Ten this season. In their first four games, the Nittany Lions have outscored their opponents 211-40, never scoring less than 45 points in a game.
Considering how badly Illinois' defense has played at times already, the idea of facing a Nittany Lions offense that's been unstoppable so far isn't one that brings much hope.