With the help of some passionate college football fans in the world of the internet, TCR will be simulating every Illinois football game this season using EA Sports' NCAA Football '14. We've downloaded updated rosters and the team depth charts will be changed on a week-by-week basis to reflect what we'll see on the field. We'll also check the weather forecast to mirror the expected conditions at kickoff.
Last season, our simulations predicted the correct outcome 70% of the time.
This season, our simulation is (8-1).
Week 10: Illinois Fighting Illini (5-4) vs #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0)
Rivalry week 2.0 means it's a tussle for a turtle, the scuffle for the snapper, the rumble for the reptile, the battle for the Illibuck! Ohio State has won the last 6 games in this storied rivalry, and is looking to add a 7th this week in their quest to return to the College Football Playoff. Can Illinois push them off their path?
Let's see how both teams are rated:
Illinois Fighting Illini
- Overall: 79
- Offense: 83
- Defense: 78
- Overall: 99
- Offense: 99
- Defense: 97
Let's be honest, there is NO POSSIBLE way the Illini are going to win this. As we plugged in the stats, the dials showing Ohio State's ratings were all tipped in the Buckeye's favor. Determined to provide another high quality simulation, we pressed play and watched as Josh Ferguson took the 3rd play from scrimmage 55 yards to the endzone to put the Illini ahead 7-0. After a quick 3 and out, Wes Lunt hit Dionte Taylor from 26 yards out for another score. Leading 14-0, the Illini defense created a turnover as Mason Monheim intercepted a J.T. Barrett pass to set up ANOTHER Illinois touchdown (this time from Geronimo Allison) giving the Illini a 21-0 lead. The only tally from Ohio St would be a 36 yard field goal from Sean Nuernberger, and the Illini would end the first quarter with a 21-3 lead.
Yes. You read that right.
Nuernberger's afternoon was just getting started, as he would tack on another field goal from 27 yards out early in the second quarter to cut the lead to 21-6. Barrett would find his touch as well, hitting Jalin Marshall with a 23 yard touchdown pass to narrow the gap to just 8 points at halftime.
Barrett would run for a touchdown, and also find Michael Thomas (twice) and Braxton Miller for touchdown passes in the second half to work the Buckeyes back into the lead. Illinois was still in it after Josh Ferguson ran for his second touchdown of the game, but it would not be enough. 21 unanswered points would seal the deal.
Final Score: Ohio State 42, Illinois 28
Here is the scoring summary and team stats for the game: