Michigan Wolverines Shut Down Illini; Win Low-Scoring Big 10 Affair

67-65 in multiple overtimes this was not. This meeting between the Illini and Wolverines was much less “college basketball on AstroPlay” than last year. Michigan still won; this time with a different style.

Out of the gates Michigan dominated. They held a 172-13 yardage advantage after one quarter of play; 249-30 at the half. UM tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint had 121 yards rushing, on just three carries at the end of the first period. Yet the Michigan lead was only 14 at intermission.

The Memorial Stadium attendance was 60,676, a sellout- first one this season. And they had reason to come alive when the Illini cut it to 17-7 on Nathan Scheelhaase‘s TD run. However, that optimism was short-lived when Scheelhaase threw a pick-six on the next Illini offensive series.

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#24 Michigan Wolverines v. Illinois Fighting Illini: Brutally Honest Game Preview

In my lifetime, Illinois has beaten Michigan at home just twice- in 1983 and 2009. For some reason, the Illini don’t have a home field advantage versus the Wolverines or the Ohio State Buckeyes. Part of it is my alma mater has issues selling tickets to college football games.

If you can’t sell out a game versus Ohio St, when you’re undefeated and nationally ranked in the top 15, then when can you sell out? Michigan is starting to stumble a bit after a fast start, and they’re getting Illinois at the right time.

Or are they? The Illini had a bye week to prepare for this, and have to be feeling a sense of urgency. They started out 6-0 and now find themselves projected to the Pizza Bowl in Detroit. Uhm yeah, time to start winning some more games.

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Michigan vs. Illinois: Brutally Honest Game Preview

rich-rod

Guess who leads the Big Ten in rushing the past five years? Surprisingly, it’s not Ohio State or Penn State. During the Zook era (since 2005), it’s actually Illinois.

Illini: 196.1 yards per game. Wisconsin Badgers: 192.7 ypg in the five year span. That’s right, you just read something good about Illini head coach Ron Zook, a man deemed by many to be the college football equivalent of former Bulls and current Clippers leader Vinny Del Negro.

Get ready because here comes more Zook positive press.

At Illinois, he’s 2-1 against the Wolverines while Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez is 0-2 against Illinois. Zook is only the third coach in school history to beat Michigan twice in his career. Robert Zuppke (1913-41) defeated the Wolverines nine times and Ray Eliot (1942-59) had eight wins over UM.

In Ann Arbor, they’re calling for Rodriguez’s head yet again. And that’s silly because you need to give a coach, any coach, at least three-four years to get his system in place with his recruits before evaluating him.

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