Illinois fell to Kansas 34-23 on the road on Friday night in Lawrence.

It was a tough night for Illinois’ defense, which gave up points on 5 of Kansas’ first 6 drives to start the game. The Illini’s offense moved the ball well at times, but they did turn it over twice in the loss.

Illinois is now 1-1 on the season.

Here are 3 takeaways from Illinois’ loss:

Defensive struggles

Illinois had almost no answer for Kansas’ offense in this game. The Jayhawks totaled 539 yards on the night and averaged 7.4 yards yer play.

Jalon Daniels returned to the lineup for KU and threw for 277 yards and 2 touchdowns on 29 attempts. Out of the backfield, Devin Neal and Daniel Hishaw combined for 218 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 22 carries.

Illinois did pick up a pair of takeaways, but only forced 1 punt on the night. Overall, it was a very disappointing night for the Illini on that end of the field.

Passing game inefficiencies

Illinois was solid overall offensively, but it did not get enough out of its passing game on Friday night. Quarterback Luke Altmyer threw for 202 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions on 28 attempts. That was good for a passer efficiency rating of 126.

One of Altmyer’s interceptions came as the Illini were driving late in the 4th quarter to potentially make it a 1-score game. That turnover effectively ended the contest as KU was able to burn most of the remaining clock on its ensuing possession.

Isaiah Williams led Illinois with 6 catches for 99 yards. Tip Reiman caught Illinois’ lone passing touchdown on the night.

Postseason chances

This loss does hurt Illinois’ chances of reaching bowl eligibility in 2023. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, Illinois had a 74.4% chance of making the postseason prior to this game.

Illinois was favored by FPI (58.5%) against the Jayhawks, so this loss will almost certainly bring down its postseason odds.

Illinois was bowl-eligible last season for the first time since 2019.