Michigan 67, Illinois 65: Instant Classic Despite Lack of Defense

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When the Illini and the Wolverines got together to play college basketball in February, the score was Illinois 51, Michigan 44. When they met to play college football Saturday, the score was UM 67, UI 65.

It reminded me of the 2009 Illini basketball 38-33 loss to home state. Because you looked at the box score, and you’re like “is that a misprint?” If this Big Ten conference game had any similar precedent, it’s the 2000 meeting between the #12 Wolverines and #21 Northwestern Wildcats. NU won that one 54-52 at Ryan Field.

I guess my prediction was a bit off!

There really isn’t a whole lot left to be said about this game. The biggest stories need the shortest write-ups. I will say this though 1.) All the preseason worries about the very banged up Illini secondary getting shredded came home to roost today. Illinois needs to fix that in order to get to and win a decent bowl game.

2.) If UM Defensive Coordinator Greg Robinson wasn’t fired already, he most certainly got fired on Mikel LeShoure’s overtime TD reception. The Illin ran that exact play to perfection against the Purdue Boilermakers last week. Robinson had all week to study that on film, yet it burned the Wolverines twice.

Robinson also got embarrassed last week at Penn State, having an extra week to prepare for a rotation of PSU freshman QBs, who also shredded him. Look at what’s happened to Syracuse football since he left…I rest my case.

That said, let’s break down the numbers, facts and figures from this one. We know you enjoyed the game in despite whoever you wished to win.

-Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase finished 14-of-25, 211 yards, 3 TDs 0 INTs. Michigan QB Denard Robinson put up 305 yards ran for 62 yards. Forcier went 12-for-19 with 114 yards and 2 TDs.

-132 combined points game, highest-scoring game of the year in FBS, the 131-year history of Michigan football, and the Big Ten ever!

-Illinois: 246 passing yards and 315 rushing, Michigan: 419 passing and 257 passing. I need the abacus to calculate 1,237 combined yards.

Michigan (6-3, 2-3 Big Ten) snapped a three-game losing streak and became bowl-eligible for the first time in Rich Rodriguez’s three seasons.

Illinois gave up more yards and points to Michigan in the first half alone than in any prior game this season, having allowed only Northern Illinois to reach 390 yards, Michigan State scoring 26 points as previous season-highs.

Michigan’s Roy Roundtree set a school record for single-game receiving  in the third quarter, cracking a mark of 197 yards set in 1967. He finished with 246. It’s safe to say he’ll be Big Ten Player

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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  1. The highest scoring game in Big 10 history? Wow! Not too suprising but a little suprising.

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