USF vs. Illinois fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, September 15
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
USF (2-0) vs. Illinois (2-0) Game Preview
One Reason Why USF Will Win
The Illinois offense wasn’t exactly rocking and rolling before, and now it has to go on without QB AJ Bush. The Virginia Tech transfer injured his leg – an apparent hamstring injury – in last week’s win over Western Illinois.
The passing game is averaging just 164 yards per game, and last year’s starter, Cam Thomas, left the program just days before the Bush injury. The USF pass rush has generated five sacks and 18 tackles for loss in two games, and the D has generated five takeaways.
All the Bulls should need to do is come up with a few early scores, and everything should be fine.
QB Blake Barnett has been terrific, completing 69% of his passes for 512 yards and five scores. The shaky Illinois pass defense can be picked apart.
One Reason Why Illinois Will Win
The Illini have to hold on to the ball for long stretches – somehow.
The attack has been able to keep control for close to 31 minutes per game, but USF doesn’t seem to care about time. There’s a good chance the Illinois offense has the ball for ten minutes more than the Bulls do.
The offense might be relying on a mediocre running game and the mobility of MJ Rivers to keep the game alive. The D that’s been great at times on third downs has to take car of the rest.
With a better punting game, and with a ball control attack, the Illini need to win the field position battle, and they need to win the turnover battle. They’re going to need to create their own breaks, but …
What’s Going To Happen
Charlie Strong’s team is amazing when it comes to the turnover margin, too.
In Chicago, there should be a little bit of a home field advantage for Illinois, but there won’t be enough of one to matter.
The Bulls are used to dealing with mobile quarterbacks after facing Navy, but this is obviously something different. They’ll force a few big mistakes from Rivers, Barnett will be sharp, and the Group of Fiver will take down the Power Fiver.
Fearless Prediction & Line
USF 31, Illinois 23
Line: USF -10, o/u: 59
ATS Confidence out of 5: 1
Must See Rating: 2.5
5: The Longest Yard (the 1974 version)
1: Chicago Med/Chicago Fire/Chicago P.D.