Illinois Fighting Illini Football

Fighting Illini: What Can Be Learned From The Michigan State Loss

Nathan Scheelhaase has 7 interceptions against 3 ranked opponents,  turnovers like these have self-destructed any chance of an Illini victory.
Nathan Scheelhaase has 7 interceptions against 3 ranked opponents, turnovers like these have self-destructed any chance of an Illini victory.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Nick MoffittContributor IOctober 18, 2010

Although Michigan State blew the game open in the second half and finishing the game with a 26-6 score the game could have been a lot closer. Like the Ohio State game a few plays really made the difference here. 

Against 3 ranked opponents Nathan Scheelhaase has 7 interceptions. A number that has killed the Illini defense in terms of being able to stop offenses from scoring. After interceptions factors such as momentum, field position, and trust for the other side of the ball.

With the Illini leading 6-3 in the 3rd quarter Scheelhaase threw a costly interception that gave the Spartans good enough field position to come away with a field goal even with a defensive stop. 

Then with the game in reach, Scheelhaase made up for his previous mistake with a beautiful play action pass that could have put Illinois into great position to score. The pass was completed then stripped and resulted in a turnover.

After that the game was put out of reach by a good Michigan State team that has given them a No. 7 Ranking after the first BCS poll was released. 

The lesson that should be learned is that you CANNOT have multiple turnovers and expect to have a chance of winning. The Illini defense did a great job keeping an explosive Michigan State team to as many points as they did. 

Scheelhaase and company must key in on keeping the ball in Illinois hands all the way down the field and get some sort of points of the majority of drives. Michigan State was a winnable game for Illinois if they keep the turnovers down. 

Look for Illinois to come back with a vengeance against Big 10 conference opponent Indiana who has the 5th ranked passing offense in the country. The rest of the season will be decided in the next few games, whether the Illini have what it takes to be a bowl bound team or whether they will be sitting at home come winter break. 

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