Illinois Football: 4 observations from the Illini loss to Iowa

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Illinois football

Illinois tight end Luke Ford cruises into the end zone for a first quarter touchdown against Iowa on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.
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Illinois football couldn’t get their third ranked road win of the season against No. 17 Iowa.

The Illini fought tough and were only a solid offensive drive away from being in the game and potentially winning. But they couldn’t put that drive together. Things got a little out of hand toward the end, and Iowa ended up winning the game, 33-23.

Here are four observations from the Illinois football loss to Iowa.

1. We are always competitive

Illinois was handed another defeat this season, this time it was by the No. 17 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes.

Playing Iowa is never easy. Illinois hasn’t beaten Iowa since 2008, and that has been the only victory over the Hawkeyes since the 2000 campaign. This has been a very one-sided matchup.

But the game on Saturday was competitive throughout much of the contest. This wasn’t a blowout where the Illini scored late to make the game closer than the score actually revealed. No, this was a great game for the entirety.

You don’t have to go back very long ago to find the Illini getting handed their worst defeat in school history. Back in 2018, Iowa beat Illinois 63-0. This was awful to witness, but those days are behind us. While it is still a loss, this version of the Illini is competitive.

Iowa ended up beating Illinois by 10 points on Saturday, which marked just the third double-digit loss this season for the Orange and Blue. And, unlike the other two double-digit losses, Illinois was right there at the end. If the offense could have put a drive together, the result of the game would have been different.

With that being said, Illinois’ roster is nearly the exact same as the team from last year, but this program looks completely different. The Illini are consistently competitive, and I expect that from this team moving forward.

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