Iowa vs. Illinois fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, November 17
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
Iowa (6-4) vs. Illinois (4-6) Game Preview
One Reason Why Iowa Will Win
The team really, really needs this.
It’s already bowl eligible, and its bowl cake is probably already baked no matter what it does over the last two weeks, but after three straight tough losses, the team could use a tight game to go its way.
It hasn’t had a whole lot of fun lately, but this is a bad, bad matchup for the Illini.
Illinois has had a little bit of a passing attack from time to time, but that’s been a bit of a fluke. The offense has to run the ball to win, and that’s not happening against an Iowa defensive front that allowed 210 yards to Wisconsin, and not more than 200 to anyone else.
The Illini ground game is great at hitting home runs lately, cranking out over 800 yards over the last two weeks and 200 yards or more against everyone but Purdue. But the secondary has been as bad as the ground attack has been good.
Iowa will bomb away with Nate Stanley getting time to operate and hitting on enough deep shots to open up the field a bit, and on the other side, the run D really will be solid.
Illinois ran or 260 yards or more in all four of its wins. As a program, Iowa gave up 295 rushing yards to a 2017 Penn State team that had some Saquon Barkley guy going off, 359 yards to a 2016 Penn State team that won a Big Ten championship, and that’s been it for allowing more than 260 rushing yards over the last four seasons.
One Reason Why Illinois Will Win
This Illinois ground game really is humming.
It’s been great at getting its speedy backs in space, and they’re ripping off big run after big run. This group isn’t going to get tough and pound away on anyone, but when it comes to what’s improving as the season goes on, this is it.
The running game will work, but there can’t be mistakes.
Along with all of the big yards on the ground have been a whole lot of turnovers. However, the Lovie Smith defense is good at taking the ball away, with at least two takeaways in every game but two. If the offense can just stop shooting itself in the foot with fumbles, it’s going to get the offense moving.
What’s Going To Happen
Iowa is great at coming up with takeaways, too.
The issue, though, is that Iowa is amazing at picking off passes, and not necessarily coming up with fumble recoveries with just two over the last seven games.
Yeah, the Illinois running game was great against Nebraska and Minnesota, but this Iowa defense is different. The linebackers are going to contain QB AJ Bush and the speedy backs from hitting too many home runs, and the offense is going to finally be able to move the ball a bit after three straight struggles.
This won’t be dominant like the 23-0 win over run-only Maryland a few weeks ago, but it’ll be a road win to pull up out of the nosedive.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Iowa 40, Illinois 23
Line: Iowa -16, o/u: 58.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Must See Rating: 2.5
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