Part of me knew that the Illinois Fighting Illini would win, if they showed up in East Lansing to actually play, as they did week-8 against the Wisconsin Badgers. There was this weakness part of me saw in the Michigan State Spartans after their blowout loss against the Badgers which led me to believe that the Fighting Illini had the tools to defeat them. And I would imagine that the Spartans had already lost focus since losing 3-games straight to three of the Big Ten elite programs prior to this showdown against the Fighting Illini.
These after half-time comebacks are scary to watch as a fan. I guess it is because I’am used to seeing the Fighting Illini at their worse, so I’am unsure what to expect. In the past, they have had some match-ups where they flat-out didn’t show up to play which leaves a bitter feeling to watch. These half-time comebacks remind me of the Florida State Seminoles in 2014, when they were coached by Jimbo Fisher. It was like the Seminoles were a depleted team in 2014, after coming off of their 2013 BCS National Championship win, but still managed to barely make it to the College Football Playoff Semifinal where they lost against the Oregon Ducks, 20-59.
As a long-time fan, I’am proud that the Fighting Illini has reached bowl status. And would be prouder if they went out and won their projected bowl game. The Fighting Illini is currently 8-10 in bowl game match-ups and their last one to date is the ‘Heart of Dallas Bowl’ in 2014 where they faced off against Louisiana Tech, losing 18-35.
Next up for the Fighting Illini is the Iowa Hawkeyes who just came off of a loss against the Wisconsin Badgers, a team that the Fighting Illini defeated. Many of us hope that this version of the Fighting Illini that came back to defeat the Michigan State Spartans after being down 25 points shows up to Iowa City to face the Hawkeyes.