The Illini started to get defensive, real defensive in the 2010 Texas Bowl. In that 38-14 trouncing of Robert Griffin III and Baylor, they held RG3 and the Bears in check.
The man who would win the Heisman trophy and become the #2 overall pick in the NFL Draft the very next season was out of rhythm, out of sync versus the Illini in Houston. And that D carried over into 2011, when they Illini had a top 10 national defense.
A lot of that was the personnel, a lot of it was coordinator Vic Koenning, who unfortunately had to move on when Ron Zook was replaced by Tim Beckman.
Can they keep it going this fall, despite the coaching changes?
2011 was: the best of times, and the worst of times. For the first time since college football expanded to a 12 game season, we had somebody start 6-0, and finish 0-6. And that cost the Zooker his job. And then they went and won the most criticized bowl game of all time over another team UCLA, that had their coach fired before the game as well. Illino...