Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bottom Line for Illinois: Hawkeyes, Big Plays Kill

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bottom Line for Illinois: Hawkeyes, Big Plays Kill

Article excerpt

For a disjointed team trying to rebuild, the big plays killed again, this time in a raucous stadium smack dab in the middle of hostile corn country.

So chalk up another loss for the Illini, this time a 38-10 drubbing Saturday at the hands of 11th-ranked Iowa. It was Illinois' 10th successive loss, the longest losing streak since the 1968-69 seasons.

For Illinois, there was simply not enough big-play power to match up with the 4-0 Hawkeyes. It may have been the team's best performance of the year, but the bottom line shows another loss. "I came out here to win," said new Illinois starting quarterback Tim Lavery, battered and bruised. "Not to play good or show promise. We are 0-4, but we got beat by a better team." "Last week I was angry because we gave the game away," Illinois coach Ron Turner said. "Today, we got beat by a better football team. One team came out expecting to win, and one team came out hoping to win. Big plays have killed us all year, and those are the things we have to eliminate to win. We're not even close to where we need to be." Once again, Illinois started strong, this time with a sack of Iowa's Matt Sherman near his goal line on the game's first play. But, before too long, it was business as usual. Iowa struck again and again and . . . oh, you know the rest. There were bright spots. The opening play sack . . . an Illinois fumble recovery in the third quarter on a sure touchdown run by Iowa's Tim Dwight . . . another bone-crushing, ball-popping hit, this time applied to Sherman in the fourth quarter and recovered by Illinois. But, again, what does it all mean? "I bleed orange and blue, and I'm going to do something to make this university proud," said senior middle linebacker David James (East St. Louis). "This was a good measuring stick. We've just got to get a couple of wins under our belt." "We've been through a lot before, but you just have to work harder and try to get better," added senior tailback Robert Holcombe, again the workhorse for Illinois with 157 yards on 32 carries. "I wish things could be different, but this is one of the best teams I've played on since I got here. …

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