Illinois Football: Grades for Luke Altmyer in the Illini win over Toledo

Sep 2, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Luke Altmyer (9) puts a hand to the helmet of Toledo Rockets linebacker CJ Wilson Jr. (33) on a run during the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 2, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Luke Altmyer (9) puts a hand to the helmet of Toledo Rockets linebacker CJ Wilson Jr. (33) on a run during the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Illinois football team has some things they need to correct after the win over Toledo.

This was an up-and-down game that saw the Illini finally come away with the win late in the contest. Despite the struggles throughout the game, I think we can all agree that Illinois has a solid quarterback behind center.

Luke Altmyer looked solid for the Orange and Blue. Against Toledo, he was accurate and was able to move the offense down the field. I wanted to break down his game a little more, though. So, let’s grade his performance.

Illinois football quarterback Luke Altmyer’s grades from the win over Toledo

  • Passing – B+

For it being Altmyer’s first game as an Illinois starter, he did pretty well when it came to actually passing the football.

There wasn’t one thing I could point to and say this is Altmyer’s weakness, which is something I haven’t been able to say about previous Illinois quarterbacks.

I like Altmyer’s arm strength. He can get the ball out and to his pass catcher on an out route. I think his biggest strength, and something Altmyer seems extremely comfortable with, was the back shoulder throw. He was getting the ball out on time and putting it where only his wide receiver could catch the ball.

Altmyer’s accuracy was off the charts as well. He completed 18-of-26 passes, and most of those were downfield. They weren’t screens or quick passes to the outside. Altmyer actually pushed the ball down the field.

The only reason I am knocking Altmyer down a little bit is due to a few passes. One of the touchdowns to Pat Bryant was behind him. He ended up catching it, but the ball should have been more out in front of Bryant. I also noticed that Altmyer nearly overthrew Reggie Love III in the flat. This is something to keep an eye on.

Overall, it was a great passing performance by Altmyer. I think a solid B+ is the right grade. He was on the verge of getting that up to an A-.

  • Running – A-

If I had done these grades before the game started on Saturday, I would have likely given a D- grade for Altmyer’s ability to run the football. I would have been dead wrong.

Altmyer blew me away with his running ability. He isn’t pulling the ball down immediately either. Altmyer goes through his progressions and then pulls the ball down to run.

When Altmyer is on the run, he is quick and crafty. He can get through holes that aren’t there. His field vision is also impressive. Altmyer can see where to go and who should be blocking for him down the field.

Altmyer led Illinois in rushing with nine carries for 69 yards. When you can lead your team to a win and are the No. 1 rusher as a quarterback, then you deserve a grade in the A-range. I think an A- running ability against Toledo should be his grade.

Trending. Top 3 surprise performances in the Illini win over Toledo. light

  • Decision-making – C

Altmyer had a good game against Toledo, and he showed that he was a dual-threat option for the Illini. However, there were some issues with his decision-making.

Obviously, the biggest decision-making issue was the interception. Illinois was down 19-7 and needed a score. We were driving down the field and were in Toledo territory. Altmyer threw an accurate pass to the left, but it was in at least double coverage. The pass ended up being intercepted.

This was a bad decision by the young quarterback. There were also a couple of times throughout the game where Altmyer waited in the pocket a little too long. Illinois’ offensive line didn’t have a good game, but Altmyer can’t hold the ball for a long time.

I think, as he gets more experience, Altmyer’s decision-making will improve. This kid is a good quarterback, but I have to give him a C for decision-making against the Rockets.

  • Grit – A

The final grade I want to give Altmyer is for grit. When I grade for grit, I grade on whether or not your team would run through a wall for you. Do you have the it factor?

I gave Altmyer an A for grit. I think he has the right stuff to lead Illinois at quarterback. His running ability shows some great grit. Altmyer ran the ball and did what it took to get to the first down line or at least a big game for the Illinois offense.

Altmyer threw that bad interception, but he didn’t get down about it. On the next offensive drive, Altmyer went 3-of-4 for 24 yards and a touchdown. He also had 15 yards rushing on that drive. It was a gritty drive to give Illinois the lead.

Lastly, I want to note the most important play of the game. Illinois’ offensive line struggled. A defensive end did a spin move around our right tackle and had a free shot at Altmyer. Instead of just taking the sack or throwing it away, Altmyer stayed solid in the pocket, made the pass, and took the hit.

This throw led to a first down and was the reason we won the game. Altmyer’s grit is important for this program. On Saturday, he was amazing, and I give him an A grade for grit.

Next. 5 observations from the Illini win over Toledo. dark