The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Illinois falls to Kansas 34-23 in first matchup since 1968

James Hoeck
The Illini collides with Toledo during the second quarter of the first game of the seaon on Sept. 2.

Illini (1-1) football traveled to Lawrence, Kansas for their first matchup with the Kansas Jayhawks (2-0) in over half a century. Both programs are coming off a season where they earned a bowl game, resurgent from multiple down years.

Kansas took the field in their brand new “blackout” jerseys, while Illinois wore their road whites for the first time. The Jayhawks dominated the Illini in every facet of the game en route to a victory.

The Illini offense struggled on their opening drive and were stuffed by the Jayhawks’ defense. Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels made his season debut on the ensuing drive, leading his team 80 yards downfield to take a 7-0 lead.

The Illini were called for 10 penalties last week and continued the same early in this game. A personal foul after the whistle allowed Kansas to get into the red zone and take a 14-0 lead before the first quarter ended.

On their first drive of the second quarter, the Illini offense looked set to march down the field after a couple of big runs. However, a direct snap to junior tight end Griffin Moore was snuffed out by the Jayhawks, stalling the drive.

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Junior defensive tackle Jer’Zhan Newton sacked Daniels on the Jayhawks’ third drive, keeping them from padding the lead. However, the following Illini drive was stifled again by a Jayhawks defense looking to make a statement.

The Illini player of the game through the first half was undoubtedly sophomore punter Hugh Robertson, who drilled four punts inside the 20-yard line. However, Daniels continued to toy with the Illini defense, escaping a safety and juking defenders into a new world for a pair of first downs.

The Jayhawks scored once again, taking a 21-0 lead. All three scoring drives were over six minutes and at least 80 yards. The Illini got on the board with a quick drive, 75-yards on just seven plays made it a 21-7 game with 41 seconds left in the first half.

The Jayhawks were unfazed, immediately getting down the field and scoring a touchdown to take a 28-7 lead into the locker room. The Jayhawks drove down the field in just 36 seconds on that drive.

Once the teams returned to the field after halftime, the Jayhawks got right back where they left off. Running back Devin Neal broke out a 43-yard run, which led to a Kansas field goal to make it a 31-7 game right after the game resumed.

The Illini had another solid drive going, aided by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but on fourth and short, a completed pass was well short of the line to gain. The ensuing drive was highlighted by a jet sweep run by Neal for 23 yards before the Illini defense forced and recovered a fumble deep in their territory.

Altmyer gave it right back on an interception, ending what seemed like a promising drive. The Jayhawks took advantage, kicking a field goal to make it a 34-7 game. The Jayhawks scored on six of their first eight drives.

Altmyer took things into his own hands on the following drive with a 72-yard rushing touchdown. However, he was laid out on the point after attempt which led to a targeting call. The Illini got the two-point conversion on the retry, making it a 34-15 game.

Jalon Daniels continued to shine before throwing an interception to sophomore defensive back Xavier Scott who made a dazzling grab. The following drive was filled by multiple big plays after the catch and a targeting call on Kansas. Altmyer scored on a six-yard touchdown run again to make it a 34-23 game with just eight minutes left in the game.

Newton continued to have a strong night with another sack late in the fourth quarter. However, Altmyer threw another pick, sealing the Illini’s fate.

The Jayhawks put on a show, dominating the Illini for most of the night courtesy of a stellar performance from Jalon Daniels.

The Illini schedule does not get easier, as the No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions head to Champaign on Saturday.



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About the Contributors
Adam Rosen, Assistant Sports Editor
Hello! I’m Adam and I’m a senior majoring in journalism. I’m one of the assistant sports editors, and this is my second year with The DI. I love to talk about sports, so if you have any questions or desire to talk about a random athlete from 10 years ago or why Messi > Ronaldo, contact me at my email below!
James Hoeck
James Hoeck, Photo Editor
Heyo! I am James Hoeck, a third-year undergraduate student in photography with a minor in media. I have been a part of Illini Media for two years, starting back in fall 2021. I hold the position of Photo Editor here at The Daily Illini. I also work as Photo Editor for Illini Media’s Illio Yearbook. There is a good chance you will see me out and about on campus taking photos for my personal work or for The DI and/or Illio! If you want to check out more of my work, visit my socials linked below.
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