Illinois vs. Rutgers Fearless Prediction & Game Preview
Check out the Illinois vs. Rutgers fearless prediction and game preview.
Illinois (2-3) vs. Rutgers (1-4) Game Preview
Broadcast, TV, Game Time
Date: Saturday, October 14th
Game Time: 12:00 pm ET
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
There are some big games in the Big Ten this weekend. This isn’t one of them.
Rutgers has had two weeks off to try escaping the pit of misery following a 56-0 loss to Ohio State. This is a young program that’s still trying to build things up, but it could desperately use something good to happen after a horrible year.
The defense hasn’t been bad, but the offense can’t score, with just 44 points in the four games against FCS teams.
Illinois hasn’t been a while lot better.
With three straight blowout losses, and an 0-2 start in Big Ten play, the Fighting Illini haven’t shown enough offense, the defense couldn’t keep Nebraska or Iowa down, and now with Minnesota on the road and Wisconsin next, this is desperation time.
One Reason Why Rutgers Will Win
The Illinois defense is an absolute mess on third downs.
Considering the inconsistent offense doesn’t have anything to rely on, and giving away three picks last week against Iowa was a problem, so it needs to be up to the defense on a regular basis to come up with key stops and get off the field.
That’s not happening.
One of the worst defenses in America on third downs let Iowa march and keep marching, and allowed USF and Nebraska to combine for 19-of-29 third down conversions.
Rutgers has a slew of issues, but at least the defense is rising up on the money downs. It’s only allowing offenses to convert 32% of their third down tries.
One Reason Why Illinois Will Win
Rutgers, really, really doesn’t have a downfield passing attack.
It’s partly by design. Slow the game down, try running the ball, and don’t take a slew of chances. But here’s the thing – Rutgers is 1-0 this year when throwing two touchdowns with no picks, and 0-4 when throwing two interceptions.
Granted, that one win was against Morgan State, but for a passing game that’s averaging just five yards per attempt, and has yet to throw a touchdown pass in Big Ten play, there’s nothing for the Illini to worry about deep.
This week, the Illinois D is finally going to start looking like it’s supposed to.
What’s Going To Happen
Coming into this game, Illinois is dead last in the Big Ten in total offense, and dead last in total defense.
Rutgers is second-to-last in total offense, but it has enough of a defense to be a problem.
Illinois will find a way to fight to a win – the running game will be okay and the passing attack won’t give up three picks again – but there won’t be anything remotely pretty about it.
Illinois vs. Rutgers Prediction
Illinois 23, Rutgers 17
Illinois -2.5, o/u: 47.5
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