Illini Snap Counts & PFF Grades - Week 2 vs. Purdue

Illini Now/Sports Illustrated breaks down the snap counts and Pro Football Focus grades coming out of the Illinois loss to Purdue Saturday.
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Offensive Snap Counts (TOTAL: 83)

QB: Coran Taylor - 74

Matt Robinson - 9 (Starter who was injured on first series)

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RB: Chase Brown (Starter) - 50

Mike Epstein - 47

NOTE: Nick Fedanzo and Reggie Love were credited with participation but that had to be on special teams.

Illinois Fighting Illini running back Chase Brown (2) runs the ball against the Purdue Boilermakers during the first half at Memorial Stadium. Brown finished with 73 yards on just 11 carries in the 31-24 loss to Purdue.

Illinois Fighting Illini running back Chase Brown (2) runs the ball against the Purdue Boilermakers during the first half at Memorial Stadium. Brown finished with 73 yards on just 11 carries in the 31-24 loss to Purdue.

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WR: Josh Imatorbhebhe (Starter) - 77 (42 pass plays, 35 run plays)

Brian Hightower (Starter) - 55 (30 pass plays, 25 run plays)

Casey Washington - 33 (16 pass plays, 17 run plays)

Donny Navarro - 13 (8 pass plays, 5 run plays)

Kyron Cumby - 10 (1 pass play, 9 run plays)

NOTE: 15 of the 32 targets went to the combination of Imatorbhebhe and Hightower.

Illinois Fighting Illini wide receiver Brian Hightower (14) celebrates his touchdown with running back Chase Brown (2) during the second half at Memorial Stadium.

Illinois Fighting Illini wide receiver Brian Hightower (14) celebrates his touchdown with running back Chase Brown (2) during the second half at Memorial Stadium.

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TE: Daniel Barker (Starter) - 69 (41 pass plays, 28 run plays)

Luke Ford (Starter) - 41 (23 pass plays, 18 run plays)

Daniel Imatorbhebhe - 20 (12 pass plays, 8 run plays)

NOTE: While only receiving two targets, the highest ranked tight end by Pro Football Focus on both run blocking and pass blocking was Daniel Imatorbhebhe, who missed the season opener at Wisconsin with an undisclosed injury.

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OL: Vederian Lowe (LT Starter) - 83 (44 pass plays, 39 run plays)

Alex Pihlstrom (LG Starter) - 83 (44 pass plays, 39 run plays)

Kendrick Green (C Starter) - 83 (44 pass plays, 39 run plays)

Verdis Brown (RG Starter) - 83 (44 pass plays, 39 run plays)

Alex Palczewski (RT Starter) - 83 (44 pass plays, 39 run plays)

NOTE: It should come as little surprise that Pihlstrom, a walk-on converted tight end, was graded out the poorest by Pro Football Focus but given the circumstances, it’s hard to argue that he didn’t play beyond his potential. The encouraging aspect of the OL grades by PFF is the positive ratings by Brown, who was just making his second career start in college.

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Defensive Snap Counts (TOTAL: 68)

DE: Owen Carney Jr. (LE Starter) - 66 (39 pass plays, 27 run plays)

Isaiah Gay (RE Starter) - 62 (37 pass plays, 25 run plays)

Marc Mondesir - 6 (4 pass plays, 2 run plays)

Ezekiel Holmes - 2 (2 pass plays)

NOTE: Despite having three sacks, six defensive stops and four quarterback hurries, Carney Jr. also missed two tackles and had three penalties.

Illinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Owen Carney Jr. (99) sacks Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Aidan O'Connell (16) during the second half at Memorial Stadium. Carney Jr., had three sacks Saturday in a 31-24 loss to Purdue.

Illinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Owen Carney Jr. (99) sacks Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Aidan O'Connell (16) during the second half at Memorial Stadium. Carney Jr., had three sacks Saturday in a 31-24 loss to Purdue.

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DT: Roderick Perry (Starter) - 51 (29 pass plays, 21 run plays)

Jer'Zhan Newton - 42 (25 pass plays, 17 run plays)

Deon Pate - 17 (11 pass plays, 6 run plays)

Calvin Avery - 16 (11 pass plays, 5 run plays)

Jamal Woods (Starter) - 10 (6 pass plays, 4 run plays)

NOTE: Woods suffered an undisclosed injury in the first quarter that kept him out of this game. Pro Football Focus had Newton, a true freshman, as the highest graded Illinois defensive player, after having two tackles and one forced fumble.

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LB: Jake Hansen (Starter) - 68 (41 pass plays, 27 run plays)

Milo Eifler (Starter) - 68 (41 pass plays, 27 run plays)

Khalan Tolson (Starter) - 68 (41 pass plays, 27 run plays)

NOTE: The shocking element here is obviously after providing a solid game in the opener in replacing an injured Hansen, Tarique Barnes (who was in on special teams plays) didn’t receive any snaps of defensive action in the Week 2 loss vs. Purdue. What’s interesting about this is Eifler, who is seen as a veteran presence returning starter, got the worst grades for tackling and one of the worst grades in pass coverage.

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CB: Devon Witherspoon (Starter) - 67 (40 pass plays, 27 run plays)

Nate Hobbs (Starter) - 63 (36 pass plays, 27 run plays)

Jartavius Martin - 5 (5 pass plays)

Marquez Beason - 1 (1 pass play)

NOTE: Illinois fans might need to start getting used to seeing Martin on the field because in his five pass plays he saw, the only completion was a 8-yard check-down to Zander Horvath.

Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Sydney Brown (left) and defensive back Devon Witherspoon (right) tackle Purdue Boilermakers running back Zander Horvath (center) during the first half at Memorial Stadium.

Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Sydney Brown (left) and defensive back Devon Witherspoon (right) tackle Purdue Boilermakers running back Zander Horvath (center) during the first half at Memorial Stadium.

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S: Sydney Brown (Starter) - 64 (38 pass plays, 26 run plays)

Tony Adams (Starter) - 64 (38 pass plays, 26 run plays)

Derrick Smith - 8 (6 pass plays, 2 run plays)

NOTE: Believe it or not, Pro Football Focus thought Brown did a worse job in coverage Saturday vs. Purdue than in the season opener at Wisconsin.