1st half analysis for the Illini vs Chattanooga

The Illinois football team came into the Chattanooga game on Thursday as 21-point favorites.

Did the Illini play like massive favorites in the first half? I would say so, as we would dominate on both sides of the field.

Here is a quarter-by-quarter first-half analysis of the Illinois football team against Chattanooga.

1st Quarter Wrap-up

Illinois managed to shut down Chattanooga on the opening drive. The defense is playing amazingly and isn’t giving up much in the way of yardage.

I also love how the offense is rolling. There is a nice pass-run balance, and this is opening up Chase Brown for big runs.

Pat Bryant also had a big first quarter. Tommy DeVito continued to find him on open passes. DeVito was hitting him in stride as well, which was huge for Illinois moving the ball.

A late field goal gave Illinois the lead, 10-0.

Analysis

I would argue this was the best the Illinois offense has looked this season. DeVito is hitting his wide receivers in stride, which is something he has been suspect at for the first three games. He would have had even bigger numbers if it wasn’t for a drop or two.

Illinois’ defense is swarming. At this point in the game, I would be shocked to see Chattanooga score over 10 points in this game. This was an opportunity for the Illini to look ahead, but they are clearly focused and wanted blood against the Mocs. They only got one first down in the first quarter.

2nd Quarter Wrap-up

Chattanooga started the second quarter off hot with a big run by running back Ailym Ford. He was my biggest worry for this game, and he showed why he is such a talented ball carrier.

The Mocs would have the ball in the red zone, but quarterback pressure forced a huge interception in the end zone. This was a big momentum stopper by Quan Martin.

Despite DeVito looking a little wounded on the sidelines, he came back in the game and was slinging the ball all over the field. A big drive would result in a great touchdown pass to Michael Marchese. This gave Illinois a 17-0 lead.

Illinois’ defense continues to stop the Chattanooga offense. It isn’t a fair fight at this point. This great performance by the Fighting Ryan Walters resulted in another Illinois drive that started in the Mocs’ territory. This drive would end with a touchdown pass to Bryant. Illinois leads 24-0.

Analysis

I am amazed by how well Illinois is playing right now. I figured we would win the game, but this is a dominating performance against a top 10 FCS program. In the past, I feel like this game would have been closed for the entirety.

Illinois’ defense is for real this year. We have dominated most teams this season defensively, and that didn’t change in the first half against Chattanooga. The Illini are on point at every level of defense.

The Illinois offense is also figuring some things out. This is a great tune-up game for DeVito. While he had already played three games coming into the night, he has a chance to tweak some things to get his passing game more efficient. It was a great first hall all around.

Illinois finished the first half with a 24-0 lead.

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