"When I dream, I dream in schemes"
Upon further review, I may have been unduly harsh on Julian Vandervelde. Then again, he barely played in the second half, so maybe not.
Thanks to Zooker for blowing this game in ways normal humans can't fathom. He's like a robot, sent from a bizarro future in which losing football games is considered a positive and entitles you to increased compensation. Of course, the bizarro future is now.
Down/Dist Line OForm DForm P/R Yds. Desc.
1-10 O23 Ace 2WR L 4-3 over Run 4 Zone right
The line does its job, and Myers and Reisner are men amongst boys on the edge. Still, nobody has Captain America, who makes the stop on AY.
2-6 O27 Ace 4-3 Pass 13 In
Illinois blitzes Wilson (again) from the left, but AY does a nice job of identifying it (if not blocking it; Wilson damn near gets a hand on the ball as JC throws). The rest of the protection is great, and JC steps up to hit Cleveland over the middle. Myers was completely open right next to Cleveland, as well. (CA, 7)
1-10 O40 Shotgun 3WR 4-3 Pass Inc. Skinny post
Again, there is an obvious mismatch, as Miller is on Chaney in the slot. No blitz, but Illinois slants the right DT/DE in and stunts Lindquist to the right. Olsen picks up Lindquist, but not before he’s forced JC to move. Eubanks and Meade are essentially watching the play from the best seats in the house as Walker lays a hit. JC, to his credit, avoids the initial pressure and fires in the general direction of Myers on a long post. The ball lands 10 yards long. (IN, 4)
2-10 O40 Ace 2WR R 4-3 (CB up) Run 2 Counter left
This play is blown up by Lindquist when Meade fails to get a block in. Lindquist fills the cutback lane (which would have otherwise been open; excellent blocking by all non-Meade linemen), and Sims dives forward for what he can get.
3-8 O42 Shotgun 3WR 3-3-5 Pass 3 Out
Illinois brings three linemen plus Leman and Sanders from the left. The beauty of the shotgun means JC has plenty of time to throw, despite Sanders coming free off his left tackle. Myers makes the catch, but is surrounded by Illini and can’t get any YAC’s. (CA, 8)
4-5 O45 Punt – 45 yards
FIFTH DRIVE: 5 plays, 22 yards, 6:21 3Q, 6-3 Illini
1-10 I46 Ace 2WR 4-3 over Run 8 Counter right
A combination of great blocking up front (especially Olsen and Doering [suck on that, Harty – ed.]) rip open a hole, and AY makes a hell of a run from there
2-2 I38 Ace 2WR R 4-3 Run 4 Zone counter left
Good, if not great, blocking up front, but Calloway actually blocks Steele INTO the hole, limiting the gain.
1-10 I34 I tight 4-3 over/5-2 Run 4 Off-guard right
Blocking opens up a small hole on the right, quickly filled by Steele. Busch picks up Steele, but AY is forced to cut back to the left into Harrison.
2-6 I30 Ace 2WR L 4-3 (CB up) Pass 5 Swing
Blocking is lacking, as Norwell bull rushes Doering into JC’s lap. JC is forced to pass earlier than anyone would like, but he finds AY on the outlet route in the right flat. A quick note here: Iowa continues to use a modified I, with two wide receivers to one side and a wingback/fullback just off the tackle to the other (there is no wideout to the opposite side). Because Illinois runs primarily 4-3 cover 2 zone, that allows ILLINI to put an extra man in the box – the strong-side corner – that would otherwise be wide in pass coverage. We’ve run pretty well against that package as it is, but it certainly can’t be helping. (CA, 9)
3-1 I25 ?? ?? Run 0 QB sneak
ESPN is too busy interviewing Mattison’s dad to show the play. JC dives short of the first down.
4-in. I24 I tight 4-4 (2S up) Run 1 QB sneak
JC dives forward, picking up the first down.
1-10 I23 Ace 3WR 4-3 over Run 5 Zone counter right
Again, good blocking up front, as linemen release to the second level. Nobody puts a body on Walker (weak-side DE), and Young is wrapped up quickly, but drags Walker for 5 yards first.
2-5 I18 Ace 2WR 4-3 over Run 2 Honestly, I have no idea
Olsen whiffs on Steele, and Walker overpowers Myers. The hole closes quickly, and AY is swallowed up.
3-3 I15 Shotgun 4WR 4-2-5 Pass 0 WR screen
Quick screen to AY, who was lined up in the slot. Steele was all over it from the beginning, and Aeschliman is unable to get out and block him in time, as AY comes up short of the first down. Flag down for illegal formation, and Zook...TAKES IT?
3-8 I20 Ace 2WR R 4-2-5 (S up) Pass 20 Post
Excelsior! Protection holds against a 4-man rush, and Myers runs a simple post right into the safety gap in Illinois’ cover 2 zone. Easy, breezy, Japaneesy. Remember how I said I liked throwing from this formation? Well, Myers beat the cheating safety, just as he should. Well planned, well executed. (CA, 10)
SIXTH DRIVE: 9 plays, 46 yards, :06 3Q, 10-6 Iowa...and make no mistake about it, that one is on Zook.
1-10 O46 Ace 3WR 4-3 over Run 0 Zone right
No hole, no hope.
2-10 O46 Ace 2WR L 4-3 (S up) Pass 6 Curl
Good protection, 3 step drop, pass to Reisner, who parked just in front of the linebackers. (CA, 11)
3-4 I48 Shotgun 3WR 4-2-5 (S up) Pass Penalty
Another stunt by the Illinois defense, and Walker has no trouble with Doering. Flags fly as JC throws it away. Hold, hold, a thousand times hold. Going to be 4th and 4 from the...WHAT? ZOOK ACCEPTED THE PENALTY?
3-14 O42 Shotgun 3WR 4-2-5 Pass 29 Post
Again, no trouble from Illinois’ pass rush (no blitz). Two weeks ago, JC would have looked at Cleveland, then dumped it into the flat for Sims. But today, he takes his time and hits Chaney, who has split the safeties down the middle of the field. Not the most accurate pass you’ll see all day, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for avoiding the underneath linebackers and the safeties on each side. (CA, 11)
1-10 I29 Ace 2WR L 4-3 Run 5 Off-tackle right
Ah, Damien Sims, with one of the most underrated moves you’ll ever see. Walker has Reisner beat like a drum (we’ll discuss the fact we have a third-string freshman tight end on their most dangerous DE later). Sims runs at Walker, then cuts back and plays right to Reisner, who recovers to put Walker on his ass. The rest of the blocking is good enough that Miller has to come from the opposite side to make the play. Of course, being Miller, he does just that.
2-5 I24 I tight 4-3 over (S, CB up) Run 3 Counter left
Too many players up front for Illinois. Blocking is really pretty good, and Calloway gets Walker off his feet, but Walker is Walker, and he rises like a phoenix to grab Sims’ ankle.
3-2 I21 Ace 3WR 4-2-5 Run 11 Off-tackle right
Walker is shredding double teams now (seriously, the story from this game is that Captain America might – MIGHT – be the fourth-best player on the Illinois defense), but DS is able to avoid a tackle. Myers and Eubanks seal off the linebackers, and DS is into the secondary before Illinois can respond. If I were using +/-, Paul Chaney would deserve a +1 for his block on Davis, who was moved 15 yards upfield. Eventually, Davis breaks free and combines with Harrison on the tackle.
1-10 I10 Ace 3WR 4-3 over
Zook is on the sidelines, apparently singing along with Juice Newton’s "Queen of Hearts," which is obviously playing in his headset.
JC fumbles the snap. Death becomes us.
SEVENTH DRIVE: 7 plays, 44 yards, 9:16 4Q, 10-6 Iowa
The remainder of the offensive series is one time-killing drive, but it's Friday and I'm drinking. Really, the final drive is notable only for the fact Pam Ward claimed Illinois had 4 time outs left.