Illinois football is sticking with the same starter we have had for most of the season.
The past couple of weeks have been fun. The Illini had an incredible comeback against Minnesota that left Golden Gopher fans in tears. This past week, Illinois was down by 15 points at one time, but we made a great comeback to win by three points in overtime.
How and why did all of this happen? Simple. His name is John Paddock. The fifth-year transfer quarterback enabled Illinois to win the last two games and move to 5-5 on the season. So, with these two great performances, he is surely to get a start moving forward, right?
On Wednesday morning, Matt Schick of ESPN radio reported that Bret Bielema, who was on his radio show, said that quarterback Luke Altmyer has been cleared to play and will start this weekend against Iowa.
It is a bad decision for the Illinois football team to start Luke Altmyer over John Paddock
When I heard the news, my heart sank. What Paddock did for the Illinois football program over the past two weeks was amazing. His final drive of the game against Minnesota is something of legend. His play against Indiana last week was incredible. He is literally the reason why Illinois has a 5-5 record and not a 3-7 record.
Bret Bielema says that you won’t lose your spot due to an injury. Altmyer shouldn’t lose his spot due to injury. He should have lost his spot due to performance.
Paddock earned at least the start against Iowa this weekend. He has one start under his belt and played sparingly in three other games, but Paddock has still managed to throw for 729 yards, six touchdowns, and just one interception. That is compared to Altmyer, who has 1,883 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.
To expand on those numbers, Paddock and Altmyer have basically the same completion percentage with Paddock at 62.9% and Altmyer at 64.8%. Paddock’s average completion is 11.8 yards compared to 7.0 yards by Altmyer.
Paddock’s instincts are much better than Altmyer’s at this point too. He can get the ball out quicker, and this shows with Paddock only taking three sacks this season compared to Altmyer taking 34 sacks. Paddock has tremendous accuracy with the ball, and his timing with wide receivers is impressive.
There is no doubt that Altmyer is the quarterback of the future for the Illinois football program, but we need to live in the moment. Paddock is the better quarterback for the Illini at this moment. He earned the starting job for at least the Iowa game, and let’s see if he can lead us to a bowl game. It is a travesty that Altmyer is back in the starting job. I hope it works out, but I have my doubts.