The potential return of Reggie Corbin should give the Illini offense some life, but it’s the defense that we’re all much more concerned about. After a solid game against Minnesota, the Illini defense was gashed last week in Lincoln. Missed assignments and an inability to shed blocks have doomed the Illinois defense all year, and I see that trend continuing this weekend against Iowa. Iowa 48; Illinois 31
This will sound like a line Tim Beckman would say, but here it goes: If the Illini didn’t drop all of those passes and muff two punts against Nebraska, we’d actually have been right there with Cornhuskers. Five turnovers to Nebraska’s two was the difference. Iowa’s offense, especially their rush-offense is woefully bad. Their o-line is meh, and I think this Illini offense can score on just about anybody in the country. Illinois 38, Iowa 27
I think Illinois needs the home run potential of Reggie Corbin, a healthy Reggie Corbin, to score enough to beat Iowa. The mistake-prone Illini offense and special teams is going to doom the home team if they can’t clean up some things from this week. Iowa’s offense is abysmally bland, but the Illinois defense is just abysmal, so I think Stanley can hit his NFL tight ends and exploit some match-ups we’ve seen before (South Florida). This will be a great test for Rod Smith and the Illini offensive-line. Iowa 24, Illinois 13
Iowa is 33 in S&P and 21st in defensive S&P. So, it’s important for the Illini to have their best weapon, Reggie Corbin, on the field. With or without Corbin, this is a very tough matchup for the Illini. Iowa is capable of completely stifling the Illini run game and Iowa’s offense can score on the Illini Defense. Iowa 34 Illinois 14
I’m at such a point now where football doesn’t even feel relevant. Maybe someday we’ll get to a point where that isn’t the case once basketball starts, but that’s how it is, even with a bowl game still a possibility. I don’t think Illinois comes out well, and Corbin is due for a down game, sadly. AJ keeps the Illini afloat, but a bad third quarter kills a chance at win No. 5. Iowa 41, Illinois 20
Call me crazy, but I like Illinois’s chances against Iowa. I can’t back it up with much, but the last two weeks have been great performances from the Illini, muffed punts excluded. If Illinois can put it all together, I feel that we might pick up another home win, and give us a chance to go 6-6(!) if we can take down B1G West Champs Northwestern, which would be shenanigans at their finest. I can dream, right? Illinois 38, Iowa 28
Jacob, you’re crazy.
I think this is pretty simple. Iowa is 87th in offensive S&P+. The Illinois defense is 122nd in defense. Advantage Iowa.
Illinois is 59th in offensive S&P+. Iowa’s defense is ranked 21st in defense. Advantage Iowa.
Iowa is just simply better. They are 6-4 and have three straight losses, but each was by less than seven points. Illinois has shown a great ability to run the ball, but Iowa is the best defense Illinois will face all season, and that is especially true of their run defense which allows the 6th fewest rushing yards in the country, 96 per game.
Iowa also is very good at stopping the one thing that Illinois needs to win, big runs. Iowa is the 4th best team per the S&P at stopping big runs and also the 4th best defense. Illinois does not have a “march it downfield” style of offense, and needs huge plays to be effective.
Now I do think Illinois can and will get some big runs and plays in this one, but not enough to make up for the points Iowa will score against the porous defense. Iowa will be only the second team to hold the Illinois’ rushing attack to less than 200 yards and win’s this in a “gentlemen’s blowout” where Illinois is never really out of it, but it’s clear they also are never getting that close to catching up. It will be a death by 1000 papercuts game. Iowa 34, Illinois 20