CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Look out, the ‘barge package’ is rolling through. Penn State couldn’t slow it down and the Illini are hoping the ship filled with seven offensive lineman playing at the same time continues to sail downstream against Rutgers and beyond. Add in two tight ends and the Illini had nine big bodies on the line at the same time against the Nittany Lions.
“Defenses have to figure out a way to line up to it and line up to it and what they’re going to do and it’s different and we’ve got some extra linemen in there and our kids had fun with it,” Illinois offensive coordinator Tony Petersen said. “You have success with something you’re going with and you end up running it more than anticipated but kids had a lot of fun and it worked out for us.”
The Illini (3-5, 2-3 B1G) didn’t use the ‘barge package’ the entire game but rolled it out several times, powering running backs Chase Brown and Josh McCray, who combined for 57 carries and 365 yards. McCray had 142 yards on the ground, averaging 5.9 per carry. Brown was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 223 yards and a touchdown, his second 200-plus yard game this season.
“Just the big 200 yard games, it’s not just a representation of how hard I’ve been working but how hard the O-line’s been working, our entire offense and we’re just looking forward to building off that and I honestly think the best is yet to come,” Brown said.
Illinois hosts Rutgers Saturday morning at 11 a.m. on Big Ten Network. After starting the season 3-0, the Scarlet Knights have lost four straight games and have yet to crack the win column in conference play.