Illinois vs. Rutgers fearless prediction and game preview.
Illinois vs. Rutgers Broadcast
Date: Saturday, November 2nd
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
Network: Big Ten Network
Illinois (4-4) vs. Rutgers (2-6) Game Preview
Why Rutgers Will Win
Did last week’s win over Liberty jar something loose?
This year is about getting through it and putting something on tape for the next head coach to see and use, and freshman QB Johnny Langan came up with a good performance to show off a little of his potential. He hit 71% of his passes for almost 200 yards and two scores, and he ran for 118 yards and a touchdown.
There’s nothing to lose here – he has to let it rip against an Illinois secondary that gives up way too many big pass plays from a secondary that usually gets a break only because teams spend so much time running the ball.
Illinois might be on a fun two-game winning streak, and it might be hoping for a bowl bid with two wins in its last four games, but the offense still isn’t doing much of anything.
Rutgers is playing a team its own size, at least on the other side of the ball.
The one thing the Scarlet Knights do a decent job of is going slow. It should be able to dominate the time of possession battle, limit the number of times the Illini gets a shot at scoring, and they should be able to keep the score low. However …
Why Illinois Will Win
The Illinois running game is humming.
It was shockingly effective in the win over Wisconsin, and last week it rolled at will in the rain of West Lafayette in the blowout victory over Purdue. The Rutgers run defense isn’t getting totally gouged, but it’s a sure-thing to allow around 200 yards and at least two touchdowns.
No, playing the Illini isn’t like facing Ohio State, but to pull this off, Rutgers has to win the turnover battle. It needs to come up with a slew of big plays that lead to easy scores and short fields.
Illinois continues to take the ball away and do a great job in the turnover battle, and Rutgers doesn’t do either one. The Scarlet Knights are dead last in the Big Ten in turnover margin, mainly because the defense doesn’t force any mistakes.
Illinois doesn’t have to take any big chances here. Rely on the defense, expect Rutgers to revert back to form, and don’t screw up. It might not be scintillating, but the Illini can do that.
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What’s Going To Happen
Illinois isn’t going to do anything amazing, and Rutgers will score just enough to make this a wee bit scary for about a half. As the game goes on, the Illini pass rush and running game will take over and get the win, but it won’t be the walk in the park Illinois fans will hope for.
Illinois vs. Rutgers Prediction, Line
Must See Rating: 2
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