It may come as a surprise to you all that last week's simulation was sipping on Orange Kool-Aid when it predicted that the Illini would put 48 points on the Washington Huskies (even though it almost exactly predicted what the Huskies would do...).
Regardless, it's a new week and a new team coming into town which means a new simulation, and a chance for the game to redeem itself. Let's take a look at what the game thinks will happen this Saturday.
Shockingly enough for a video game, this one started off REALLY slow. Justin DuVernois would end up punting the ball a total of 10 times in the game with an average of 42 yards per punt. With the exception of Wes Lunt hitting Mike Dudek for a 12 yard TD pass, the Illini offense would stall in the first half. Only Taylor Zalewski would be able to tack on field goals of 32 and 25 yards and both would come off of Bobcat fumbles.
Which brings us to the defensive side of the ball...
The Illini defense stood tall as could be only giving up 103 total yards of offense. TOTAL. Sure, it helped that the Texas State offense fumbled the ball over to the Illini twice in the first half, but the defense was able to contain Robert Lowe to a mere 34 yards rushing and Tyler Jones was only able to throw the ball for the remaining 69 yards. But at halftime, the defense had shut their opponent out for the first half all season.
ILLINI ~ 13 TEXAS STATE ~ 0
And the run game finds it's feet! Donovonn Young and Josh Ferguson combined for 3 Touchdowns and 187 total yards of offense on the day (98 on the ground). Young would carry the ball 14 times for 71 yards and 2 touchdowns and Ferguson would rush 9 times for 27 yards and a touchdown to put the Illini ahead 34-0 late in the third quarter. Lunt and the passing offense didn't seem to have all the pieces in place however as he would throw 2 interceptions late in the quarter setting up the Bobcats deep in Illini territory. But the defense would hold the Texas State offense to two short Field Goals making the score at the end of the third 34-6.
By the time the 4th quarter came around, the defense would adapt into the "bend don't break" scheme as the Bobcat run game would pick up it's intensity. Lowe would scamper into the endzone twice and Jones would toss a 5 yard pass for another touchdown and brought the score back to 34-27. But with the addition of 3 more Zalewski field goals (30, 34, and 29 yards), the Illini would pull away. In total, the defense would give up 261 total yards of offense to the Bobcats.
The toughest thing about this one was that our normally strong passing attack would stall. Lunt would only throw for 228 yards (22 of 44) and was intercepted twice. In order for him to be successful tomorrow, he needs to limit those turnovers and spread the ball around (more over the middle of the field).
All in all, it's the perfect week for the Illini to recover and prepare for the Big Ten season ahead.
ILLINI ~ 43 TEXAS STATE ~ 27