Sure it may be just the start of the season and maybe the first opposing teams so far aren't seen by the fans a "tough opponents" but no matter, wins are wins. And as long as the team is posting checks in the win column and... getting better, it's a great start for a club that has had some significant hurdles to overcome going into the 2015 college football season.
Of course I'm referring to the firing of a head coach, literally at the onset of a season, is just plain hard core no matter the reason. But yet the Illinois squad, including the coaches taking on new roles and responsibilities, is showing strong character.
The Fighting Illini defense, under the direction of co-defensive coordinators Tim Banks and Mike Phair, is resoundingly impressive not to mention they are currently tied for first in FBS for fewest points allowed (1.5 ppg).
Some other notable stats include the fact that the defense ranks in the top-5 nationally in first downs allowed (10.0), interceptions (5), total defense (193.0) and pass efficiency defense (61.3).
Next up the the Illini have forced 17 three-and-out drives this season, seven vs. Kent State and 10 vs. WIU. The illini beat WIU last Satursday 44 to zip! That's right nada, nothing but goose eggs for WIU. The last shut out for Illinois Football was September 2012 against Charleston Southern . Again not national contending teams but we will take it!
Here's a big one. The Fighting Illini have not allowed a touchdown this season. The last time the Illini went two games in a row without allowing a touchdown was in 1988 against Purdue and Wisconsin. Needless to say both were Illini wins.
We have to go back to 1942 for this next one. The Illini played South Dakota and Butler in their season's first 2 games. Illinois allowed only 3 points total in those two games. The defense rose to that level at the start of 2015 matching that 1942 start. Hard not to get excited about that
Looking forward to the rest of the season. Good luck this week. We'll be watching and cheering on the Illini!