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  • Northern Illinois Report Card

    For me it was a frustrating game to watch. Hoping the SEC schedule will get the team motivated but man we are easily the weakest top ten team right now.

    Quarterbacks Ė A-

    Okay, you can still find a time or two where Will held the ball too long and he should have had a pick in the third quarter. But 18/26, 303 yards, 4 TD's and no picks is a great game, especially considering the inept offensive line in front of him. Again, Will showcased that he can make all the throws and his accuracy on the deep balls was very good. He hit guys in stride across the middle that allowed them to take off. I also saw him move horizontally in the pocket on a couple of occasions which I havenít really noticed him doing in the past. His second TD pass to Tayvion Robinson sticks in my mind as a result of sliding in the pocket. He is continuing to grow as a QB and I think Scangarello has been good for him and I have to believe HS QBís are taking note.

    Running Backs Ė C

    We need Rodriguez back in the worst way. I appreciate the stats show Smoke had 85 yards (surprised me a bit), but Wright just hasnít learned to find holes at this point in his career. I recall in the first quarter he hit the left side of the line for no game and if he had looked and cut right, he would still be running. The Smoke fumble loss before halftime was an absolute gut punch, as they were able to add the late TD. We will need two rbís from the portal for next year.

    Receivers/TEís Ė A

    I still canít believe UK has amassed this kind of talent in the receiver room. I can see why Alabama was recruiting Brown, he looks like their type of elite receiver. Heís growing as a player and learning to block as well, but his speed is elite. Tayvion Robinson is a Sunday player. His route running is excellent, and you can tell Levis trusts him a great deal. He is also a tough guy that will block for his teammates. I would have loved to see Key pull in the throw in the end zone. He had a quiet night (2 catches). I didnít notice the TEís too much in this game. Dingle had a big catch, and he is going to be very good for Kentucky.

    Offensive Line Ė D

    Doc says no Fís, and I would probably go with D anyway. They did manage to stand up for Levis TD throws, but man, I havenít seen our O Line look this bad since Jokerís time. 4 or 5 sacks against FCS competition and I couldnít find the TFL figure. Ole Miss will be licking their chops. We averaged 2.9 yards per carry and it looked like NI owned the line of scrimmage all game. I keep thinking what our offense would look like with this yearís receivers if we had last yearís O Line.

    Defensive Line Ė B-

    I was disappointed in our defensive line and maybe they should get a C. They didnít really get a push all game. No sacks or TFL for these guys. As a group they really didnít seem to be motivated. I think Rbyka and Rogers shared a team high 3 tackles for this group. I was hoping that Oxendine would come back as the player he was before he was hurt. I wonder if he lost too much weight. He needs to ditch the seaweed and eat some ribs.

    Linebackers Ė B

    Jones led the team with 12 tackles and he, Square, and Wright were active. They are the strength of our defense and did show up thank goodness. I havenít seen the snap counts but doesnít seem like Wallace or Jackson got a lot of snaps last night. Didnít create any turnovers and didnít have a sack which brings down their score.

    Secondary Ė C

    Gave up a couple of big plays which we donít usually see with Brad Whiteís defense. No picks on the night. Given that Ajean has a broken wrist and not sure how many snaps he got, if any, but our second string safeties seem to play pretty well. Childress had our only TFL on a run play and showed good speed. He got jobbed on the holding call on 4th down at the end zone. He played it just right. I am hoping they can find some type of cast for Ty for the Ole Miss game, as the ball will be in the air quite a bit.

    Special Teams Ė B

    I thought Goodfellow had a good night with a 46-yard average and a long of 60. Ruffalo nailed a 49-yard field goal. However, the kickoff return in the second half of 42 yards by NI, was painful right after we scored. Set them up near mid field to start the drive. Not much on our returns by either Brown or Smoke.

    Coaching Ė C-

    The players didnít really seem like they were ready to play. We consistently play down to our competition. Can we assume at this point that the O Line just canít be fixed? They must find some adjustments, or weíll be playing in the Liberty Bowl. Not sure if White was holding back on defense to not give Ole Miss some tape, but the defense was just not aggressive and there was no pressure on their QB. I heard talk on Thursday that Stoops was in a really bad mood at his press conference, and it was probably because it was a poor week of practice.