Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 9/16/13
The 2-1 Illinois Fighting Illini suffered a 34-24 loss to #19 Washington in front of 47,312 at Soldier Field Saturday, but they may have found a go-to receiver in senior Ryan Lankford. He’s emerging as that primary target, like A.J. Jenkins and Arrelious Benn before him. Lankford finished with three catches for 100 yards, marking his second 100-yard receiving game this year and the third of his career. He has 10 catches for 225 yards on the young season, and 5 carries for 52 yards rushing, including that long TD run in the 45-17 blowout of Cincinnati. Ryan Lankford had 469 yards 5 TDs as a junior last year. His first two years in Champaign though he didn’t contribute all that much. He’s been a big beneficiary of the new offense brought in by Bill Cubit this year. The Cubit revitalization of the offense has made the second year of the Tim Beckman already better than the first. Illinois football accomplished more in two games of 2013 than they did in all 12 of 2012. Ryan Lankford on his 72-yard TD reception and overall offensive performance: “It was a momentum swing for us – guys were really fired up after that and started to play like we had a chance to win this game. We never gave up and that was really positive to see out there. The main issue was that we left plays out there; we didn’t capitalize on every play. If we would have, obviously we would’ve put more points up on the board. We’re going to check the tape this week and go from there.” It was the ninth-longest touchdown pass in school history. It is the longest touchdown reception since the 77-yard TD catch by A.J. Jenkins on Oct. 8, 2011, at Indiana. “He wants it, he works hard at it, he has great intangibles and speed and can run routes,” said Illini Wide Receivers Coach and former Illinois, Bears WR Mike Bellamy said of Ryan Lankford. “The biggest thing for Ryan is to continue to believe in himself.” Lankord on all the formations Cubit uses in the offense. (He had 20+ in the Cincy game) “I love it, as a guy who likes to have the ball in his hands you gotta appreciate it. The defense is just trying to figure out what we’re going to run next and what we’re going to do,” said Lankford. Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan and 1620 The Zone, he also writes for Chicago Now. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) and Facebook The post Ryan Lankford emerges as Illini go-to receiver appeared first on The Sports Bank.Net.
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