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Saturday, September 24, 2011
Illinios being tested by Western Michigan

By Adam Rittenberg

Illinois got the statement victory it needed last week against Arizona State.

But if the Illini don't hold off Western Michigan today, they'll vanish from the national spotlight.

It has been a struggle in Champaign for Ron Zook's crew, as Western Michigan isn't going away. Alex Carder and the Broncos are giving the Illinois defense all it can handle, tying the game at 20-20 early in the fourth quarter.

The Illinois offense has had a puzzling performance. There has been some nice run-pass balance, but the Illini haven't been able to punch it in the end zone despite numerous opportunities. Discipline has been a bit of a problem, as Illinois has two turnovers and five penalties.

I'm not sure why Illinois continued to sprinkle in Reilly O'Toole at quarterback late in the third quarter despite holding a slim lead. While it's nice to give O'Toole some reps, this is still Nathan Scheelhaase's team. Donovonn Young and Troy Pollard are sparking the Illini run game.

Will Illinois complete its first 4-0 start since 1951? Stay tuned.