Time For The Bearcats Defensive Line To Turn Up

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

For as much as the Bearcats dominated the Purdue offense the Bearcats defensive line did not make itself felt against the Boilermakers, at least not in the boxscore. To contain Illinois passing game the defensive line has to show up in a big way.

The lack of sacks and TFL might not be all on the Bearcats defensive line. Purdue called a ton of plays that were off three step and shorter drops. That’s a great way to manage a sketchy quarterback. It’s hard to have a lot of things go catastrophically bad on a three step drop. The other mitigating factor is just how iffy Rob Henry was at QB, he had no confidence or rhythm to his passing and looked out of sorts from the start.

Purdue put the ball up 35 times and the Bearcats came up with one sack. It was a crucial sack, but it was just a sack. That's just a sack rate of just 3 per cent. small sample size yada, yada, yada, that’s still not great. It should be said that the Bearcats did hurry Henry nine times. So in his 36 dropbacks he was sacked or hurried on 28% of the time. It’s still so early that we don't know anything, about anything, not really but UC will need to convert some of those hurries into sacks.

That being said this is a perfect opportunity for the Bearcats defensive line to pile up the sacks. Even with Ted Karras coming back from injury the Illini don't have a great offensive line. Most pre season publications ranked the Illini as the worst in the Big 10. Yes, even worse than Purdue. But the passing game is far more important to the success of Nathan Scheelhaase and the rest of the offense.

This is the game for Silverberry Mouhon, Brad Harrah and company to show up. If the Bearcats defensive line can dominate the engagement up front and apply consistent pressure to Scheelhaase, particularly with pressure from the middle of pocket they will have their finger on the pulse of the offense. Today is the day for it.

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