After looking disinterested and disoriented for the first quarter, Illinois has started to show a pulse against Fresno State.
Make no mistake: the Bulldogs are very much in control of this game. Illinois' offensive line really struggled against the Fresno pass rush, which dropped quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase for three sacks. After imposing its will against Northwestern at Wrigley Field on Nov. 20, the Illini line is really struggling to stop Fresno State's front four. The Bulldogs scored on their first four possessions as Ryan Colburn is finding big holes in the Illini D.
Illinois has mounted a few drives and could surge in the second half. The run game is there with Scheelhaase and Mikel Leshoure, but Scheelhaase has struggled to settle into a passing rhythm. The Illini need more balance.
The Illini defense seemed to regain its swagger late in the half. Rush end Michael Buchanan made several nice plays.
There's still a lot of time to turn things around, but Illinois needs to step things up in all three phases.