With the help of some passionate college football fans on 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.
Our simulation has predicted the outcome correctly 80% of the time over the last two seasons.
Week 1: Illinois Fighting Illini (0-0) vs. Murray State Racers (0-0)
To begin, let's take a quick look at how Illinois is rated compared to last year.
2015 Illinois Fighting Illini
- Overall: 79
- Offense: 83
- Defense: 78
- Overall: 83
- Offense: 83
- Defense: 82
Before we get to the results, there are a few things we need to address. First, today's role of Murray State will be played by 'FCS Midwest' because the Racers aren't a playable team in the game. Second, the rosters we're using this season are still under construction in a few areas. This meant a few positions weren't entirely correct, as was the case with Illinois' place kickers. David Reisner got the starting nod in our first simulation; we're hoping next week's game will feature Chase McLaughlin.
So what happened in the virtual contest? Well, the Orange and Blue dominated in pretty much every area. Wes Lunt threw for 502 yards and 4 touchdowns. His favorite target was Malik Turner who had 8 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown; Tyler White also grabbed 8 passes for 117 yards for 2 scores of his own. Ke'Shawn Vaughn rushed for 192 yards and 3 touchdowns on 29 carries, and the Fighting Illini ended up on top by a huge margin.
Final Score: Illinois 65, FCS Midwest 17
Here's the scoring summary and team stats from the game: