Illinois Football: 3 effects of the Illini win over Purdue

Next3 of 4Prev
Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

CHAMPAIGN, IL – SEPTEMBER 01: Mike Epstein #26 of the Illinois Fighting Illini dives into the end zone to score during the game against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Memorial Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Champaign, Illinois. Illinois defeated Kent State 31-24. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

2. It makes me wonder, what if?

Illinois is now one step closer to making a bowl game. Their 4-4 record is just two wins short of that coveted milestone in the Lovie Smith era. The schedule ahead looks extremely promising as well. But I still wonder, what if?

I am not talking about what if we could have won a couple more games. Yes, we could have beaten Nebraska and Eastern Michigan, which would have put us in a bowl game today. But my “what if” has more to do with the players. What if we would have a healthier team?

I saw another member of the media put out the injuries Purdue had yesterday like it was some qualifier to lose the game against Illinois. But the Illini have some huge injuries of their own. Let’s just take a look at the players who are out for the season.

The big one to start the year was Marquez Beason. Illinois’ pass defense has been better as of late, but could you just imagine how good the pass defense would be with Beason? This kid was wanted by everyone in the country. He would give Lovie more flexibility with the secondary.

Illinois isn’t playing with a full backfield either. We saw Reggie Corbin, Dre Brown and Ra’Von Bonner run wild against Purdue. But let’s not forget, arguably, are second-best running back Mike Epstein is out for the season with an injury. We could have a four-headed monster running the ball instead of three.

The Illini were a little short-handed against Purdue on the defensive line. A player we could have used this season is Bobby Roundtree. He suffered a tragic accident before the season started that keeps him in the hospital today. I want to stress; football is irrelevant compared to what he is going through. But just think how much better our defensive line would be if we had him.

I haven’t even mentioned the recent injuries or injuries that have plagued single games. Trevon Sidney is out for the season with an injury. Isaiah Williams, Delano Ware and Wole Betiku all missed the last game. So, if we could be even remotely healthy, it still makes me wonder what if.

Next3 of 4Prev
Use your ← → (arrows) to browse