WCIA — Kansas (2-0) never trailed in it’s 34-23 victory Friday night over Illinois (1-1) as the Illini come back to Champaign with more questions about their defense than answers.
Through two games, the Illini have allowed 62 points. Illinois’ worst game on defense in 2022 came at the hands of Purdue, as they allowed the Boilermakers to score 31 points. 34 to the Jayhawks and 28 points allowed to the Rockets rank in the top three worst performances for the defense in the past two seasons.
“In the first two games, it’s very evident some of the things we need to do especially on the defensive side of the ball,” head coach Bret Bielema said. “Just look at closely what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and be able to make plays. I think you take the second half, and obviously we made some adjustments, did some good things. But there was enough things we did poorly in the first half that I think put this game in a tough spot.”
“We just got to step it up. We’re not playing to our best potential,” defensive tackle Johnny Newton said. “A lot of mental errors, lot of mistakes that are leading to touchdowns. Lot of penalties that are leading to touchdown drives. We just got to pick it up and play better.”
Illinois will no longer be the setting of FOX’s “Big Noon Kickoff” for Week 3, as the show opted to stay another week in Boulder. Lead announcing team Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt will still call the game as the Illini host No. 7 Penn State at 11 a.m. on Saturday.