Illinois Wins Their Game, but Did They Lose Their Juice?

Oliver VanDervoortCorrespondent ISeptember 13, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 5: Juice Williams #7 of the University of Illinois Fighting Illini passes the ball against the University of Missouri Tigers during the State Farm Arch Rivalry on September 5, 2009 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Tigers beat the Fighting Illini 37-9.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

It's every coach's worst nightmare.  You're playing a game that you should be able to walk through, and then all of the sudden, your star player goes down to injury.  That happened last night to the Illinois Fighting Illini, and it could further shake up a season that had already started off disappointingly.

Williams took the ball on the first play of the game, and rushed all the way to the Illinois State one yard line, a 49 yard scamper, but fell to the turf in obvious pain.  After the ensuing play culminated in a Daniel Dufrene one yard touchdown run, Williams left the game, never to return.

While backup quarterback Eddie McGee played well against the out-manned Red Birds, the Illini's season will live or die depending on how severe Williams' injury is. 

Illinois begins Big Ten play next week and takes on an Ohio State team that proved it can hang with the big boys in its contest with the USC Trojans last night.  Illinois probably stands little chance of upending the Buckeyes, even with a healthy Juice, but they stand no chance without him.

They get no break after Ohio State, as their second Big Ten game is a showdown with seventh ranked Penn State.

There has been no word on just how long Williams will be out, it's possible he will be back, and 100 percent by the team's Big Ten opener, they have a week off in order for Williams to recuperate.

Still, the win against Illinois State could prove more costly than any one game loss.