Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 10/9/11

Illinois (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) is off to its best start since the 1951 National Title team went 7-0.

The Hoosiers (1-5, 0-2) lost their third in a row, have not beaten a Football Bowl Subdivision team this season and lost 13 consecutive against the Top 25 since a 31-28 victory over then #13 Iowa Hawkeyes on Oct. 14, 2006.

But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Illinois essentially spotted Indiana 10 points today, and seemed to be down double digits right after getting off the bus. They also had far inferior special teams to IU today, and that 41-20 final score wasn’t very indicative of how solidly Illinois beat them, or at least how solidly Illinois should have defeated them.

A.J. Jenkins yet again made his case for the Biletnikoff and Big Ten Silver football awards with another monster performance 6 catches for 183 yards, and two long TDs. QB Nathan Scheelhaase had another efficient day, going 12-21 for 211 yards, 3 TDs, no picks. He also led the team in rushing, getting 95 yards on 17 carries. Donovonn Young continued to warrant Rashard Mendenhall comparisons, as he had some fumbling issues (like Shard his freshman year). He had 74 yards on 11 carries. Troy bucket of hair Pollard had 90 yards on 9 carries. And Jason Ford as usual, had a yards-per-carry average half as much as all the other Illini rushers. He’s not feature back material, Zooker. Time to realize that.

Also, we’d be remiss to not mention Ron Zook’s impossible to comprehend decision to go for 2 on the PAT in the second quarter, up one possession. WHY DOES HE DO THIS? Especially versus Indiana.

The Illini may be ranked in the top 20, but they’ve only played one complete game this season. And that was the 50+ point destruction of South Dakota State. They’re a FBS school, so does that count?

There’s no reason Illinois can’t continue on the way they are and start 9-0, finishing 10-2. But they have back-to-back dates in November versus #4 Wisconsin and #11 Michigan. The mistakes they’re making now just won’t fly against those teams. Indiana didn’t have the talent to punish Illinois for those mistakes, but those teams too.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

He’s appeared on live radio all across the world from Houston to New Zealand. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

 

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