Williams sets another milestone in loss to Cincinnati

There wasn’t an air of sadness or depression from the Illinois football team Friday after a 49-36 loss at Cincinnati.

Rather, the Illini emanated a feeling of resignation after their eighth loss of the season, distinctly different from the somber mood that was apparent after games against Missouri, Ohio State and Indiana, to name a few.

“I don’t know who scored first,” offensive guard Jon Asamoah said after he was asked about his team’s opening drive, in which the Illini drove down the field to score the opening touchdown.

Considering Saturday’s matchup was against a national championship contender, it could have been looked upon as an admirable performance for a team that is now 3-8.

The Illini, though, look at Saturday’s game and the previous three games as what could have been. In that four-game stretch, the Illini scored 125 points, more than double the amount they scored in the previous five.

“We’ve got things going right now,” Illini quarterback Juice Williams said. “Unfortunately it’s kind of late.”

Playing spoiler was one of the few motivators for the Illini, who racked up 476 yards on the day.

But that opportunity, Asamoah felt, slipped through their fingers.

“Usually, as an offense, it’s nice to put up the 470-some yards, 30-some points,” Asamoah said. “But it wasn’t enough. I guess we needed to turn some of those field goals into touchdowns.”

Career mark for Williams

Saturday marked yet another milestone in Williams’ career.

Maybe a reflection of his four years as an Illini rather than a disappointing season, Williams became the sixth Big Ten player to reach 10,000 yards in total offense.

“It’s definitely a blessing. Not too many people, out of all of the great players who have played in this conference have achieved 10,000 yards, and that’s just a tribute to my teammates and all of the hard work we’ve put in as a unit,” he said.

While Williams hasn’t been able to enjoy his records and milestones he’s reached, he knows they’ll be special down the road.

“I’ll be able to sit back a few years from now and say that I was one of those guys to have 10,000 yards,” he said.

Hawthorne not impressed

Terry Hawthorne is not a man of many words.

But those few words said a lot when the freshman defensive back was asked about the performance of Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike, who threw for 399 yards and six touchdowns.

“He was pretty decent,” he said.

Hawthorne was equally unenthused about the performance of receiver Mardy Gilyard, who totaled 102 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns along with a kick return for a touchdown.

“He’s a good athlete, but there’s a lot more to it that he has to work on before he makes that next step,” he said.