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Beating Indiana may be deal breaker for Illinois making a bowl

The Illini welcome the Hoosiers to Memorial Stadium in Week 11

Foster Farms Bowl - Utah v Indiana Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

2016 Final S&P+ Rk: 53

2016 Off Rk: 67

2016 Def Rk: 31

The Illini will need a victory against the Hoosiers for any chance at a bowl game in the first meeting between the teams since 2013. Besides being on a one-game win streak on Dad’s Weekend, Illinois has other reasons to be somewhat optimistic.

Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow is known for his turnovers. He threw 17 interceptions last season. Stanley Green Jr., Jaylen Dunlap and Cameron Watkins will need to be ball-hawking all game to limit the Hoosiers’ opportunities on the offensive end and force turnovers. More picks means fewer opportunities for Indiana to score.

Illinois will also win if they control the time of possession and keep this game a low-scoring affair, which can happen by keeping the ball on the ground. Indiana’s weakness on the defensive side is their run-stopping game. The Hoosiers went 1-3 last season when they allowed more than 200 yards rushing.

Indiana’s defensive line did not get any better during the offseason with additions, so a strong rushing attack will be vital to Illinois’ chances at a win. If the Illini’s offensive line steps up and Kendrick Foster, Reggie Corbin or Dre Brown break a few free, Illinois will definitely have a shot against their Big Ten East foe.