3. Coaching failed Illinois on the final drive
Even with allowing a bad touchdown toward the end of the game, Illinois still had a chance to drive down the field and kick a game-winning field goal.
John Paddock completed a pass to Casey Washington to get us started. After a one-yard run, Illinois had it to third and two at our own 33-yard line. It looked like Illinois ran some type of slant, and Paddock’s pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage. And then a coaching mismanagement happened.
Illinois sent out the punting unit on fourth and two with 3:45 remaining in the game. We were literally ready to punt the ball away to Iowa. Before the snap, and with the clock not running, Illinois used a timeout. This was our second timeout of the half.
Punting on fourth and two with under four minutes left would have been a terrible move. Using our second timeout was a terrible move. And then the final icing on the cake is the fact we ran, basically, the same play on fourth down as we did on third down.
What was the result of the fourth down play? The same exact result as the third down play, a batted ball. Now Iowa had the ball back with under four minutes to go, and Illinois only had one timeout remaining.
The series of decisions by the Illinois coaching staff failed this program at the end of the game. I don’t know how you can run the punt team out on fourth and short with the game on the line. I don’t know how you can just waste crucial timeouts. And I don’t know how you can’t just run a different play on third or fourth down. It was amazing to watch.