Check out the Illinois vs. Northwestern fearless prediction and game preview.
Illinois (3-8) vs. Northwestern (5-6) Game Preview
Date: Saturday, Nov. 26
Game Time: 12:00 pm
Venue: Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
Bowl and Conference Implications
Northwestern needs to win to get bowl eligible. Illinois can’t get better than sixth in the West.
What’s Going To Happen?
Illinois could have its big win to set the tone for Year Two of the Lovie Smith regime, and this would be it.
Considering this is a total rebuild of a season, being just one game worse than last year wouldn’t be all that bad, and setting up the rivalry with Northwestern would be a big deal for the future of the Lovie vs. Pat Fitzgerald era.
Losers of four of their last five games, it’s been an ugly back half of the season, made worse by losses to Wisconsin and Iowa by a combined score of 76-3 over the last two games.
Where’s the passing game? It doesn’t matter if it’s Wes Lunt or Jeff George under center – the offense isn’t going anywhere with points way too hard to come by. So can the solid defense save the day and keep this close?
Northwestern’s offense has hit the skids at the wrong time, rolling against Purdue, but having a nightmare of a time overall over the last month. QB Clayton Thorson has been find, but the points aren’t coming, scoring more than 24 points just three times – winning all three games.
Illinois isn’t going to throw on the Cats, and the ground game isn’t good enough to pick up the slack against a that’s struggled over the last month, but should keep the Illini under four yards a carry.
Northwestern is 0-5 when allowing more than 130 rushing yards per game, and is 5-1 when it doesn’t.
Illinois hasn’t rushed for more than 100 yards in four of its last five games. Make it five of the final six.
Illinois vs. Northwestern Prediction
Northwestern 27, Illinois 13
Northwestern -16, o/u: 44.5
ATS Confidence: 5: Store bought anything – 1: Homemade anything … 2
Must See Rating: 5: NFL kickers attempting extra points – 1: Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love … 2.5