2. I am going to miss Jer’Zhan Newton
There have been plenty of impact players come through the Illinois football program, but I can’t remember the last game-wrecker.
Devon Witherspoon was great, but Newton changed the game completely. He was someone who could change momentum or even change the game with one great play. He continued to do that in his last game as a member of the Illinois football team.
Newton was sensational against Northwestern. The Wildcats only averaged 3.9 yards per carry on the ground, and when Illinois needed a big play, Newton was there.
Illinois was just coming off a touchdown in the first half. Northwestern started to drive the ball up 14-10. Newton comes in with a big sack of Ben Bryant. This gave Illinois the ball back and led to a field goal.
The Illini secondary was struggling. Northwestern dropped back and Newton got through the offensive line. His pressure made Bryant hurry his pass and he couldn’t get enough on it. This led to the Illini intercepting the ball.
After a brutal Illinois interception, Northwestern could have taken a double-digit lead. They had the ball at the Illinois 25-yard line. On second and nine, Newton comes through with a huge sack to keep it a one-score game.
The physical strength of Newton is something to marvel at, but he is more than just a strong player. He has a great swim move, his first step is so quick, and he has an incredible motor. I am going to miss Newton. I haven’t seen a game-wrecker like him in a long time, if ever.