Beckman emphasizing takeaways

Published 09/03 2014 04:16PM

Updated 09/03 2014 06:44PM

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - One of the biggest knocks on Illinois' defense last year was their inability to force turnovers.  The Illini were dead last in the Big Ten in takeaways a year ago, and they didn't force a single turnover in Saturday's win over Youngstown State.  The Illini had their opportunities against the Penguins.  Mason Monheim dropped a sure interception after a pass hit him right in the hands, and Taylor Barton stripped a ball loose before it rolled out of bounds.  A couple close calls, but head coach Tim Beckman says they have to capitalize on those opportunities.

"That's again the Achilles' Heel that we have got to change, and that is we have got to take the football away," said Beckman.  "We had a dropped interception, possibly could've went for a touchdown.  We have got to continue to strive on ball awareness, pulling the ball out when we're gang tackling, and continue to create that pressure on the quarterback."

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