Season Destroyed: Illinois loses 6th straight.
Minneapolis, Minnesota- Well, it’s officially over. We can pretty much call this years season the “Crash and Burn” campaign. After starting a very promising 6-0 season, Illinois has flipped it and lost 6 straight. This time a 27-7 loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers. A team that entered this contest posting a record of just 2-9. Only one win was against a Big Ten team.
Minnesota held Illinois to zero points and just 18 yards on 23 plays in the first half. They also held Illinois to 160 yards on 59 plays for the entire game. This was an Illinois season low. Minnesota came to play and the Illini offense continued to be stagnant. They were unable to move the ball. They relied on 3 and outs like they have for the past 6 games.
This game became a highlight reel for the Golden Gophers. This was the first time Minnesota led a game from start to finish since 2008. It was also their largest margin of victory since 2008. This was Minnesota’s largest victory over a conference opponent since 2006. So congratulations Minnesota. The only points by the Illini came on an 11 yard run by Troy Pollard in the 3rd quarter. Illinois had no energy, no desire, and no drive. The offense showed no sense of urgency. Minnesota absolutely wanted this game way more than Illinois.
I’m going to use my common knowledge abilities and assume that Illinois head coach Ron Zook’s seat went from hot to spontaneously combusting. After his tenure with the Illini, it’s safe to say that a new coach will be coming to Illinois next year. This isn’t official in any way. The fan base for the Illinois Fighting Illini hasn’t been prominent. That’s a huge issue for Illinois’ atheltic director Mike Thomas. All colleges would like to make money at their sporting events. This involves keeping your current fans coming, and bringing in new fans. Odds are that Ron Zook is out.
Recruiting under Ron Zook has been good. His overall record in his Illinois coaching career is 34-51. Out of the 13 head coaches Illinois has had, Ron Zook is 11th in winning percentages. The situation doesn’t look good for Ron Zook. Even with a 6-6 record, with 6 straight loses, there’s a great chance Illinois will get overlooked for a bowl game. Especially with the number of Big Ten teams who qualify and haven’t lost every game in the last half of their seasons.
So maybe we’ll be talking about a bowl game soon, maybe not.