You had to wonder about Illinois' state of mind going into today's finale at Minnesota as the Illini were burdened with a five-game losing streak.
Whether it's mental fatigue or simply bad play, Illinois looks to be hitting rock bottom here at the end. Ron Zook's team has been simply putrid in the first half, especially on offense. The Illini did not pick up a first down until the final minute of the half and went into intermission with just 19 total yards.
Minnesota has fielded one of the worst defenses in the Big Ten this season, especially up front. But the Gophers are dominating the Illinois offensive line and already have four sacks. Quarterback Marqueis Gray is having an excellent day, with 103 rushing yards, 76 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns.
This looks like a classic case of one team that wants to be here and another that has mailed it in. Minnesota could give itself something to build on for next year if it can get its second Big Ten victory. Illinois needs a huge second half to avoid the embarrassment of going from 6-0 to 6-6.