Stephen Cohn: Illinois 28, Indiana 27
Illinois will snap out of this funk at some point. Cam Thomas will have another decent game with zero turnovers — he’ll be sacked by Tegray Scales, though — and the Illini will somehow ride him to a victory. If this is the case, expect Thomas to start the final two games of the season and be the starting QB entering the offseason. A loss for Illinois likely means a start for Jeff George Jr. at Ohio State next week and rotating quarterbacks versus Northwestern during the season finale — and confusion in the offseason.
I’m tired of confusions. The Illini need to win this game in order to match last season’s win total.
Michael Berns: Indiana 40, Illinois 13
More heartache for the Illini, I’m afraid. Lovie Smith hit the nail right on the head when he was asked about the Indiana Hoosiers in his Monday press conference. Paraphrasing here: “Most of the teams we’ve faced this season are prolific running teams. This is the first team we’ve faced that can really throw the ball”. Richard Lagow will get the start at quarterback for the Hoosiers, and he’s got more experience than all of the Illinois quarterbacks combined. Lagow will be targetting star wideout Simmie Cobbs Jr. all game long. Combine a nice passing game with Indiana’s revered middle linebacker Tegray Scales on the defensive side — Illinois has some serious problems keeping pace and scoring points.
Mark Schaer: Indiana 27, Illinois 17
I really want to pick Illinois to win, I do. But I can’t. Illinois is going to lose, people are going to complain, and then we have next week to look forward to. Illinois has been a first half team for most of the season, keeping within striking distance of their opponents (see Iowa game on Oct. 7) until the second half of the game. In fact, the Illinois offense has only scored 20 points all season in the 3rd quarter. This needs to change if they want to try and beat a hapless Hoosier team. It won’t, at least not this week. Cam Thomas will continue to get the majority of the reps and record nearly 200 yards of total offense, but Illinois still will not be able to eclipse 20 points. Remember, everything is building up to 2019. Just wait.
Thumpasaurus: Indiana 38, Illinois 10
This one’s going to be close through the first half and then get off the rails in the third quarter as the dam breaks. Illinois will force some turnovers while keeping it close, and hopefully Cam Thomas gets a longer leash this week, but Indiana’s defense is too solid for us to run against and their offense will prevail eventually. We have nobody that can contain Simmie Cobbs in man coverage. The streak hits double digits and it will be immensely satisfying once we can snap it.