CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Isaiah Williams may be the future but it was Matt Robinson who sparked the Illini in the 42-25 loss to Michigan. The redshirt freshman quarterback took all the second half reps after splitting them with Williams in the first half, and the California native gave Illinois a chance.
Robinson led the offense to 25 unanswered points to cut the lead to three.
“We just opened it up a little bit, maybe started taking some more shots,” Robinson said. “We came up a little bit short but I thought as an offense we did a pretty good job.”
But for all Robinson did to get the Illini back in it, he also was responsible for taking them out of it. Two fourth quarter fumbles ended any chance of a comeback.
“They were just doing a good job of getting pressure,” Robinson said.
“Those two turnovers late hurt us,” Lovie Smith said. “Blocked punt hurt us but we got it together, some kind of way.”
Give Illinois credit for fighting back but spotting a team 28 points makes it tough. The Wolverines sliced up the Illini defense early, especially on the ground, rushing for 205 first half yards. The Wolverines had only rushed for more than 200 yards in a game once this season.
“We’ve just got to keep playing no matter what,” Syndey Brown said. “I mean yeah we’re going to make mistakes but it comes down to us staying disciplined.”
“There’s positives and negatives to every game and obviously a little more negative that we lost but that second half was big for our defense confidence wise that we can play with anyone,” Jake Hansen said.
Illini head coach Lovie Smith talked about the comeback in his press conference, saying he’ll take away the positives from this one but the reality is the Illini have now lost four straight games and still don’t have a Big Ten win this season. It doesn’t get any easier from here with 8th ranked Wisconsin here next weekend.