Chicago Sun-Times
With Sun-Times sports reporter Herb Gould

Coach Vic could kiss his defense

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In case you missed it in the online edition--I couldn't find it, but my wife says I can't find anything--here's my Illini notebook from the 10-7 disappointment at Penn State.
I really liked Vic Koenning's defense of his defense. I think that could serve the Illini well as they try to snap their three-game losing streak and salvage some things in November.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.--The focus will be on a sputtering Illinois offense that has scored just 28 points in the last three games--and only seven points in the first three quarters of those games.
But defensive coordinator Vic Koenning sounds like a man who's found a unit he can take into battle.
``If anybody in this room has seen a defense play harder, I'll kiss their butt and give 'em 10 minutes to draw a crowd,'' the Oklahoma native said. ``Our guys played as hard as they could possbily play. The last two drives before halftime at Purdue, the whole second half there, the whole game here, they have been relentless.''
The defense, which also did a lot of good things against Ohio State, is looking more and more like Illinois' strength.

When Penn State safety Nick Sukay took down Nate Scheelhaase with a helmet-to-helmet shot in the second quarter, some wondered if Sukay might be subjected to an NFL-style disciplinary review.
That's not needed, said Scheelhaase, who returned to the game after taking a couple of plays off to lose the cobwebs
``Yeah, it hurt,'' the Illini QB said. ``But it didn't seem malicious. It was a good football play. You're gonna get dinged when you're playing hard. You could blame me for half the thing. I was running pretty hard at the kid.''
Freshman backup Reilly O'Toole didn't miss a beat in relief, completing 4 of 7 for 31 yards. Scheelhaase completed 9 of 16 for 63 yards, while Jason Ford ran for 100 yards on 24 carries against Penn State's stingy defense.
The victory was the 409th for Joe Paterno, which gives him the most victories by a Division I coach, one ahead of Grambling legend Eddie Robinson.
``I'm happy for him,'' Ron Zook said. ``I just wish it wouldn't have been me.''

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This page contains a single entry by Herb Gould published on October 30, 2011 11:20 AM.

College football picks for Oct. 29 games was the previous entry in this blog.

College football picks for Nov. 5 games is the next entry in this blog.

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