Illinois vs. Akron fearless prediction and game preview.
Illinois vs. Akron Broadcast
Date: Saturday, August 31
Game Time: 12:00 ET
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
Illinois (0-0) vs. Akron (0-0) Game Preview
It’s only the second meeting ever between the two teams – Illinois won 38-7 in 1996. Last season, Akron shocked Northwestern, and the Illini needed everything in the bag to get by Kent State from the MAC.
For the Zips, it’s a new era under head coach Tom Arth, looking to get more out of the offense, the Illini is looking to get more out of the defense – and the offense, too – in an interesting matchup for both sides.
Akron gets UAB up next before going to Central Michigan, and Illinois has to go to UConn to follow before diving back into the MAC world against Eastern Michigan. It needs the three game non-conference slate to get ready for Nebraska, but it can’t take Akron lightly.
Why Akron Will Win
The Illinois offense has to prove it can consistently work.
Star recruit Isaiah Williams has the tools and talent to be an instant star, but Michigan grad transfer Brandon Peters got the starting gig – can he get the woeful passing game going? Can the offense that was so inconsistent and didn’t get enough out of the offensive line? Can the Illini control the clock?
Akron’s early goal will be to control the tempo under the new coaching staff – offensive coordinator Tommy Zagorski was great at doing that at Eastern Kentucky last year.
If the Illinois offense sputters and the Akron D can get off the field – or if the Illini make a ton of mistakes – this could be much, much tighter than expected. The pressure is all on Illinois to play well.
Why Illinois Will Win
The Akron D is starting over.
It wasn’t an awful defense last season, and it was fantastic at times at making things happen behind the line, but just three starters are back.
The linebacking corps is going to be okay, and S Alvin Davis might just be the best player on the field for either side, but there’s not nearly enough in place to slow down the Illini if the O gets rolling right away.
There won’t be too many crazy things thrown into the gameplan. Run, get the offensive line going, and wear down the Akron defensive front. RB Reggie Corbin will be in for a huge day.
What’s Going To Happen
Akron will be plucky.
The defense will come up with just enough third down stops to stall Illinois drive after Illinois drive, but the Zip offense won’t be able to convert on enough big plays in key moments.
Illinois will have to sweat a bit, but Peters will have to be terrific right away as a steadying force for the attack.
Illinois vs. Akron Prediction, Line
Illinois 34, Akron 17
Line: Illinois -16.5, o/u: 56.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
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