2. Offensive play calling is confusing
The loss on Saturday afternoon was rough. Even when we had the lead 10-6, it was a clunky way of having the lead. Things just weren’t going right.
But even when things don’t go your way, you can still control what you can control. With offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. and head coach Bret Bielema, the decisions were confusing.
On the first drive of the game, Illinois went for it on fourth down with one yard to go. We converted and continued to move the ball down to the six-yard line. It turned into fourth and one again, but this time we decided to kick the field goal. It didn’t make sense why Illinois would go for a fourth down at the Purdue 17-yard line but not the Purdue six-yard line.
Illinois was down by 17 points late in the third quarter. This game wasn’t over by any means. Illinois had it fourth and one again, but instead of going with something like a quarterback sneak or at worst a goal-line offense, the Illini snapped the ball out of the shotgun formation. We start five yards back of the first down even though it is fourth and one. We didn’t get the first down.
I also don’t understand why the Illinois offense doesn’t run the ball earlier in the game, and why we go completely away from Isaiah Williams for large swaths of the game. These two things are our strengths, and we completely ignore them most of the time.