Illini must become cohesive unit to succeed

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By Tatiania Perry, Staff Writer

I am not going to say this was unexpected; we knew the outcome of this game before it even started.

Everyone predicted it; Michigan is a good team.

Brandon Peters was our best bet against a team like Michigan, and he was out for the game on concussion protocol.

Matt Robinson and Isaiah Williams just aren’t ready, which is why they weren’t starting. And having them step up on a game like Michigan is not a confidence booster.

At least that’s what I thought in the first half — the first half of the horrible showing by Illinois.

However, I’m not interested in talking about the first half of the game. I don’t even care to talk about fourth quarter.

What I do want to talk about is that third quarter.

Whatever team came out of that locker room after halftime was the Illini we have been wishing for.

I don’t know what head coach Lovie Smith had to say to those guys to get them to perform like that. They came out of the locker room a whole new team, the team we knew they can be, and it was inspiring.

Those guys came out of the locker room with a 21-point deficit after barely making a touchdown at the end of the first half.

Josh Imatorbhebhe caught a beautiful pass from Robinson in his starting debut and kicked off what could have been the best come back in a while.

Not only was the offense on fire, actually making moves down the field and maintaining a good pace, the defense was keeping the ball out of the red zone. Michigan didn’t even get within reach of a touchdown or field goal at all in that third quarter.

If you ignore the rest of the game and just highlight that performance, this was fantastic.

Unfortunately, that’s not possible, and you have to realize the rest of the game was a tragedy, and unfortunately, the Illini are only able to play one or two strong quarters.

Even taking notes on the past few games, there were really good starts, or strong finishes or a good push for win.  At the end of the day, if they start off rocky and finish strong they finish rocky, or the middle is rocky, the same goes; at some point, they wake up and become a cohesive team after spending most of the game in a dormant state.

They need to do better as a unit, and at this point, there is no answer for what exactly needs to be fixed.

In the post-game press conference, Smith didn’t really have answers for how to duplicate that third quarter, and neither did the players.

No one really knows how things went right; they just know that they did, and that is going to have to be a good enough start.

@tati_perry14

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