Illinois Football: 5 observations from the Illini win over Indiana

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Illinois football

Nov 11, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini running back Reggie Love III (23) eludes the tackle of Indiana Hoosiers defensive back Louis Moore (20) during the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois football came out ahead in what was one of the most exciting games in the past decade.

The Illini had to go to backup quarterback John Paddock on Saturday against Indiana. Most of the time, a backup quarterback means trouble for a program. Not for Illinois. Paddock stepped in and had an insane game.

Paddock helped lead Illinois to 48 points, which I thought was a feat that would never be accomplished again in my lifetime. These 48 points were just enough to nip Indiana in overtime, 48-45.

Here are five observations from the Illinois football win over Indiana

1. Welcome back Reggie Love III

Illinois has a great freshman running back in Kaden Feagin. The bruiser is going to be a special player for this program for the next three or four years.

Feagin’s workload has been increased over the past three games because Reggie Love III went down with an injury. Feagin performed well in those three contests, averaging at least 4.0 yards per carry in each game. But on Saturday, Feagin was the one hampered by injury. Fittingly, in steps Love to help fill the void.

Love, who hadn’t taken a snap since the Nebraska game back on October 6, didn’t just take over the running back duties after Feagin went down. He ended up having the best game of the season.

Illinois used Love well, giving him 24 carries and he amassed 140 yards and two touchdowns. He was running well between the tackles, and his speed was a nice change of pace in the Illinois backfield. It would be nice if both Feagin and Love could get healthy together because that is a nice thunder-and-lightning duo.

Love was huge for Illinois against Indiana. His performance helped open up the passing game and vice versa. This was easily the best offensive game for the Illini in my lifetime, and Love was a big part of the success. I am glad to have him healthy again.

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