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The Good and the Bad from Illinois football’s win against Toledo



Illinois Football
Sep 2, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Luke Altmyer (9) runs the ball against the Toledo Rockets during the second half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Football: The Good and the Bad from its home opener against Toledo.

The burden of expectations is difficult when you’ve never had them before. However, the Illinois Fighting Illini won against a Toldeo team that did not back down from its Power Five peers. On a night when the 1983 team was honored, Illinois football found itself down 19-7 in the third quarter. Offensive coordinator Barry Lunney, Jr. did the right thing, put the football in Luke Altmyer’s hands, and the Mississippi transfer delivered. It was uncomfortable for Illini fans and ugly at times. However, Illinois won the game.

Here are the good and the bad for Illinois football from last night’s game:

The Good: 

Luke Altmyer gave the Illini an element to the offense not seen in Champaign for a long time. Atlmyer pushed the football downfield. He completed four passes of 15 yards or more, including a 20 and 33-yard completion. The Mississippi transfer completed 18 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns. It became apparent that Atlmyer might be the best player on Illinois football’s offense.

The Bad: 

The Illini did not have a good night in the trenches. Toldeo ran for 186 yards last night, and the offensive line did an excellent job on what was supposed to be an elite defensive front. Quarterback DeQuan Finn rushed for 75 yards, and the Illini linebackers looked lost on most zone-read plays. The defensive end crashed too often when Finn was the more explosive running threat.

When Finn gave to Jacquez Stuart or Penny Boone, they consistently gained positive yards. Toledo pushed the Illinois defensive line back throughout the entire game. Toldeo got a hat on a hat, and Illinois’ linebackers got lost in the thickets. That is quite frankly about desire and want to. Toldeo did not back down, and Illinois did not know how to handle it for most of the game.

The Illini committed ten penalties for 100 yards. Committing penalties can either stall drives or extend them for your opponents. Illinois did both.

Bielema and his staff have some work to do before they travel to Lawrence and play the Jayhawks.




Armchair Illini is a comprehensive site dedicated to covering University of Illinois Athletics owned and operated by Alex Kyi. Dante Pryor has been writing about College Football for years on Saturday Blitz and is now the Lead Football Author for Armchair Illini.