Minnesota vs. Illinois fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, November 3
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
Minnesota (4-4) Illinois (3-5) Game Preview
One Reason Why Minnesota Will Win
Does Minnesota have a passing game now?
It didn’t show off much of one for most of the season, and then Zack Annexstad got banged up, Tanner Morgan filled in, and the air show had to open things up.
Morgan had to keep chucking it in the loss to Nebraska, but against Indiana, he was sharp enough to hit 71% of his passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns with a pick, including a big shot late to stop a late rally.
The Gophers are always going to want to run the ball first, and this week, it’s going to work.
There’s bad, and there’s Illinois-bad at stopping the run, getting destroyed for 431 yards by the Maryland ground game last week, and giving up 350 yards or more in three of the last five games.
Start running, commit to it, and the big gashes will be there.
But at least the Gophers now know they can throw if needed, too.
One Reason Why Illinois Will Win
It’s not like Minnesota is getting anything out of its defense.
The Gophers can’t come up with enough stops on third downs, and the secondary has struggled throughout the year. It survived the Indiana game, but it was almost a disastrous collapse.
Illinois won’t throw the ball, but AJ Bush has to at least give it a try.
The Illini ground game, though, should gouge a Gopher defensive front seven that will give up yards in chunks.
Illinois was stopped cold by the Purdue D, but it has managed 210 rushing yards or more in every game so far. It has to dominate on the ground, though, to control the game from the start.
So far, the Illini are 3-1 when rushing for 238 yards or more, and 0-4 when they don’t.
Nebraska and Maryland each ran for over 300 yards on the Gophers. Illinois has to do the same.
What’s Going To Happen
Injuries and other issues have kept Minnesota from keeping the ground attack from rolling, but this is the week to get it all started again.
The Illinois defense has gone bye-bye. Minnesota isn’t exactly stopping anyone cold, but it should be able to keep the game in range to let the suddenly balanced attack to take over.
Illinois will run well, but the defense won’t come up with a meaningful third down stop.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Minnesota 38, Illinois 30
Line: Minnesota -9.5, o/u: 64
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Must See Rating: 2
5: Midterm election coverage next Tuesday night
1: Maryland press conference