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Illinois vs. Purdue 2016: Fighting Illini set for first rivalry game under Lovie Smith

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The Battle for the Cannon returns to Champaign on Saturday.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The moment we’ve all been waiting for is here. The Chicago Cube will officially begin their World Series pursuit on Friday night with a NLDS matchup against the San Francisco Giants.

Are you ready for College football’s biggest and best rivalry game? The Illinois Fighting Illini (1-3) will welcome the Purdue Boilermakers (2-2) to Champaign on Saturday afternoon for a monumental Big Ten West showdown. The winner has a chance to — I don’t know — maybe win some more games this Fall. The loser, however? Yeah, that team will have the inside track for last place.

Game Day Information

Fighting Illini Uniforms

Purdue Boilermakers Scouting Report

Record: 2-2 | Second-order wins (diff.): 1.9 (-0.1) | S&P+ Rk: 100
Date Opponent Opp. S&P+ Rk Score W-L Win
Expectancy
Adj. Scoring
Margin
Percentile
Performance
Off.
Percentile
Def.
Percentile
3-Sep Eastern Kentucky N/A 45-24 W 92% 12.0 55% 58% 53%
10-Sep Cincinnati 75 20-38 L 5% -13.6 25% 57% 6%
24-Sep Nevada 114 24-14 W 94% 13.3 56% 29% 78%
1-Oct at Maryland 40 7-50 L 0% -45.9 27% 9% 31%
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
S&P+ 24.5 101 32.8 89
Points Per Game 24.0 94 31.5 94

After talking with Travis Miller of Hammer and Rails, he made it very clear that Purdue’s offense has taken a BEATING this season due to their thin offensive line. David Blough in his second season as Purdue’s quarterback, and he hasn’t had a lot of time to throw the football. The Purdue offense has had trouble maintaining any kind of ground game, too. Markell Jones is the workhorse running back for the Boilermakers, but with limited blocking at the line of scrimmage he has not been a major force this season. If Purdue is going to have ANY success offensively, look for wide outs DeAngelo Yancey and Domonique Young to use their 6-foot-2 and 6-foot-3 frames to compete with the Illinois secondary.

Coming off of a 50-point rout from the Maryland Terrapins, the Purdue defense will be licking their wounds come Saturday. The Boilermakers run a strong corps of linebackers, but their defensive scheme is 4-2-5 (meaning only 2 linebackers play per down, with 5 players in the defensive secondary). This scheme causes their inexperienced secondary to have to make plays, which given their average of 226 rushing yards allowed per game, one would be safe to say that game plan isn’t working. Look for Reggie Corbin and the Illini to run WILD on the Boilers in Memorial Stadium.

Predictions

TCR Prediction: Illinois 31, Purdue 20

FSH Projection: Illinois 34.7, Purdue 22.6 (76% W)