Could Things Be Different This Time?

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Most Every single Illinois football fan knows the script. A home game, against a ranked team. We think we might be up to the task, but aren’t sure – regardless, we’ve cast our suspicions aside and have shown up. We’re in. If it’s a night game, all the better. We’re filling up this stadium.

Amazingly, we start off well. There was that nagging thought in the back of our heads that we might get blown out, but we belong on the field with these guys. Things are going well.

Then the red flags start. The lead could be bigger – we’re wasting opportunities with penalties, turnovers or both. Questionable play calls. The other team is hanging around. Bad, Wrigley-style vibes start creeping into the stadium. You start seeing the miscues that you know will come back to haunt you later

You get to the fourth quarter, and if you’re a negative, cynical person like me, it’s not a question of if we’ll lose this one, but how. Will it be…

….heroics from the favorite as time winds down?

….controversial calls?

 

Or something new altogether? A punt that goes off Ryan Lankford’s face, perhaps? Yep, that fits.

But then, unexpectedly, the defense creates a turnover exactly when they need it. The offense turns it into a game-winning touchdown. What?

Now, I’m not suggesting that ASU is as good as any of those teams above. They’re not. They’re fairly undisciplined and had some pretty questionable offensive strategy. But it’s more about what a loss would’ve meant for Illinois – it would have lowered the ceiling for the season and extended a streak of disappointing outings in close games. Do you realize this is the first successful fourth quarter comeback this team has mounted since 2005? Maybe, juuuuust maybe, this is a group of guys that can change the culture a little bit.

 

Let’s look at pictures!

 

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Good job showing up, students – they filled up the endzone. I have no idea what Block I is trying to show there – there’s an orangey blob chasing a gold one. This is what happens when you have all day to drink.

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This is a pretty accurate representation of the fan interaction. The girl in the jersey was overserved and overly friendly with everyone in the vicinity. The ASU brah taking a video of her had shoved somebody and flexed within five minutes of getting to his seat. He’s probably going to post that video to his MySpace page with some really clever commentary (almost as clever as the “pitchfork” thing – it’s lame, guys. You’re not Texas. Dial it down.). Nice reverse sunglasses. ASU fans have an air of skeeviness about them that would make you think twice about sharing food off the same plate.

 

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Our in-game presentation is so mediocre. Lame music. Lack of really good, timely videos. No stats being shown in-game. Check out the wildly distracting black bar ruining everything you see on the video board. Amateur hour.

 

 

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Dejected fan shot! Yes! This is the look of despair that accompanies Jason Ford dumptrucking your defense.

 

That is all. I’ve already got a bad feeling about next week’s Western Michigan game.

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