1st & 10: Scouting the Illinois Fighting Illini


Not only does today signify the beginning of a new month, but also the beginning of a new week for WKU football. After an impressive victory over Bowling Green State on Friday, the Brohm Squad will now shift their focus over to the Big Ten and, more specifically, this Saturday’s opponent in the Illinois Fighting Illini.

It took a 21 point fourth quarter, but the Illini escaped Youngstown State on Saturday 28-17, which, as much fun as it would have been to see them go down, bodes well for the Hilltoppers. They would not have wanted to face an angry opponent on the road. No sir-y bob.

Illinois is led by a sophomore transfer from Oklahoma State, Wes Lunt, who went 24-for-38 in his Illini opener for 285 yards and four touchdown passes – three of them coming in that fourth quarter. Lunt averaged about 7.5 yards per completion, and couple that with the 8.7 yards the Tops’ defense allowed to BGSU quarterback Matt Johnson, Lunt could have a big day if adjustments aren’t made in the middle linebackers and secondary corps.

Lunt did a good job of spreading the ball around, finding nine different receivers and all but one of them caught two or more passes, and no one receiver scored more than once. Mike Dudek lead the way in terms of yards, collecting 61 of them on just three catches and a score (the opening score of the fourth quarter).

It’ll be a busy day for the secondary for WKU for sure, because Illinois only rushed for 78 yards, and only two players (if we aren’t counting one rush from Lunt) collected carries – Josh Ferguson (11 touches for 42 yards) and Donovonn Young (39 yards on nine carries).

On the defensive side of the ball, the Illini allowed 380 total yards – 177 through the air and 203 on the ground. (The defense allowed an average of 7.4 yards per pass and 3.4 yards per run.) Illinois were also undisciplined, racking up 55 penalty yards on seven penalties. And, the big one, Illinois had 19:59 of possession. Less than 20 minutes, folks. You can bet Brohm and company are chomping at the bit to get back onto the field.

Here is how the Tops and Illini stack up statistically, side by side.

  WKU  Illinois
 708 Total Yards 363
 569 Passing Yards 285
 139 Rushing Yards 78
 465 Total Yards Allowed 380
 314 Pass Yards Allowed 177
 151 Rush Yards Allowed 203
 Doughty: 46/56, 10.2 Avg., 6 TD, 0 INT QB Comparison Lunt: 24/38, 7.5 Avg, 4 TD, 0 INT
 Allen: 27 carries, 99 yards, 3.7 Avg., 1 TD Top Rusher Ferguson: 11 car., 42 yards, 3.8 avg., 0 TD
 Taylor: 12 rec., 185 yards, 15.4 Avg., 1 TD Top Receiver Dudek: 3 rec., 61 yards, 20.3 avg., 1 TD
 35:39 Time of Possession 19:59