SOC - Purdue

Oct 26, 2019

I've started this post three times now. That's 100% a violation of Stream Of Consciousness protocol, but I just haven't found a launching point for what I want to say. I'm also very tired after a long week and will be fighting off sleep during this entire post. Strap in, it might be a weird one.

Here's where I stand on this game: it could be a really big moment, but I don't think it's going to be a big moment. Partly because we spent every last emotion last Saturday and will have nothing left for a road game. But also because I can't shake the feeling that the team that lost to Eastern Michigan is 2019 Illinois football, not the team that beat Wisconsin.

OK it's not just that. We haven't shown much depth this season (these are easily, by a factor of 10, the tightest player rotations Lovie has used in his four years), and now we have a lot of injuries, and either we simply had all this depth and weren't using it (uh, probably not) or we don't have much depth and it's going to show tomorrow.

With Trevon Sidney out for the season and Ricky Smalling almost certainly out for this game, we're down to... Bhebhe, Stampley, Washington, and Navarro? At defensive end, if Wole Betiku is out, I'm not sure who gets to the Purdue QB? There just aren't many more levers to pull here. The second stringers, for the most part, haven't been playing. And so I feel like there's nowhere to turn to answer some of these "who will step up?" questions.

Which is really disappointing. I really want to be writing a "CORNER TURNED" post right now, but that's just not how I'm feeling on the eve of this game. I've promised to write these as "here's where I'm at", and this is where I'm at.

In my football preview in 2017, I kinda sorta mentioned this game. I talked about how Brohm was inheriting the crest of the Hazell rebuild for a couple years while Lovie was entering 2017 with the youngest team in college football. And so I expected Brohm to be better for two years, and then, in 2019, when Brohm's real rebuild begins, Lovie should surge past him. Brohm would be the one playing all the freshmen; Lovie would be the one with the experienced team.

And that's where we're at. Purdue, sans Rondale Moore and Elijah Sindelar, is the new Youngest Team In The Big Ten. They're 2-5, but that's kind of expected with so much youth. Illinois is a junior-heavy team - a one-year-away team - and comes into this game with a boatload of confidence after beating Wisconsin.

But I still think I like Purdue in this one? I keep investigating this, wondering if I'm hung up on something.

  • Am I emotionally hedging? I mean, if we win this one, we're beating Rutgers to move to 5-4 and will be staring at "win one of the final three to go bowling". Maybe that's too exciting for me to think about so I'm hedging by predicting a loss?
  • Is this perhaps just as simple as "corner turned"? I've talked about the click, I've talked about the corner - perhaps I should recognize it when it's actually happening?
  • Perhaps I'm overrating Purdue based on their six point loss to Iowa and their seven point loss to Minnesota? Maybe they're legitimately bad and are headed for 3-9 and after the season I'll be all "I mean, of course we were going to beat Purdue"?

I keep going over all of that, and I keep thinking we're going to lose. It's supposed to rain, and we've fumbled 13 times this season already, so I can't help but think we're going to fumble a bunch. And no team in America is as emotionally drained as we are. I just can't see us getting up for a road game.

So when I go over everything in my head, this feels like a loss. If the turnovers happen, maybe a big loss. I really really really really hope this is just an emotional hedge - I'm too scared for face mid-November just looking for one win in the final three games - but I don't think it is. It won't mean that the season is lost (we redeemed the EMU loss by beating Wisconsin, we can redeem this loss by winning at Michigan State), but it will mean that November will have to be "win three of four to bowl". I think Purdue wins and covers. (Please be wrong.)

Purdue 31, Illinois 17


WeatherfordForMVP on October 26 @ 03:29 AM CDT

I feel like Mulder: “I want to believe.”

We’ll see. I-L-L!

DB50 on October 26 @ 03:41 AM CDT

Or how about Purdue having a boatload of turnovers due to the elements?

uilaw71 on October 26 @ 06:23 AM CDT

100% chance of rain, with “feels like” temps in the 30s. Sounds like Illini weather that minimizes the home field advantage, not that it has traditionally mattered in this series.

This geezer Illini gut says we win easily.

Nashvegas Illini on October 26 @ 07:55 AM CDT

I feel like this is a coin flip game. Especially if Rondale Moore is out. Really worried about the D with all the eye candy (thanks Craig).

We beat Wisc by going all out against the run . Can we find a way to slow down this offense? Has the running game turned a corner and will carry us to a bowl as we expected? This is what I'll be watching for?

Go Illini!!!

Lou-a-villini on October 26 @ 10:10 AM CDT

Big opportunity for the punter, and to improve on a couple of S’s last week.

thegoah on October 26 @ 02:14 PM CDT

This post did not age well.

DB50 on October 26 @ 02:37 PM CDT

Turnovers & DEFENSE!

HiggsBoson on October 26 @ 03:12 PM CDT

24-6 Illini! Dre Brown revealed as a mudder and Hayes is an artiste du punt.

Efremwinters84 on October 26 @ 03:34 PM CDT

I now spend more time here than any other Illini site. Just love your insider perspectives. Thank you Robert!

But like Craig, I think you need to post your season-to-date prognostication accuracy with each SOC. Your recent predictions have been causing some unnecessary stress in the hours leading up to kick-off.

Dickbupkis on October 26 @ 03:40 PM CDT

I say Robert saw that he was wrong the last 2 weeks and intentionally called for a Purdue win. He saw that the light went on. ;)

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