CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Missed tackles have been a problem for the Illinois football team and it was once again on display in a 40-17 loss at Minnesota on Saturday. The Illini defense was picked apart several times, letting the Gophers run for big plays. The Gophers ran the ball 52 times for 332 yards against the Illini. It’s the second straight game an opponent has rushed for more than 330 yards, after Nebraska raked up 346 on 64 attempts. Missed tackles played a big part, something head coach Lovie Smith addressed during his weekly press conference on Monday.
“I think as a coach, what you look at is do you have guys in position to make a play, to make a tackle?” Smith said. “Of course there’s technique involved, you’ve got to know where your help is, where your leverage is and we’ve been in some situations where we have had guys and it’s disappointing when you don’t finish the tackle.”
Illinois will once again be tested this week when No. 16 Michigan visits Memorial Stadium for an 11 a.m. kick on Saturday morning. The Wolverines have won 10 out of the last 12 meetings with the Illini, including the last four straight dating back to 2010.