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TCR Staff Predictions: Illinois at Purdue

Can the Illini grab another win?

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Illinois Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Cohn: Illinois 28, Purdue 24

I guess I am drinking the Kool-Aid now. I’m good for a few years now after the Wisconsin win, but I’m certainly also hungry for more. Weird how that works. Let’s get another Donny Navarro touchdown, Brandon Peters playing servicably and a depleted Purdue team for another Illini win to bring Lovie’s team back to 4-4.

Tristen Kissack: Illinois 31, Purdue 28

This is probably insanely reckless on my part, but how can I pick against the team after upsetting a potential national title contender? It sounds like this team is trying to turn the corner, which usually means we’re due for a few major setbacks. I like what I saw last Saturday though. A Rondale Moore-less Purdue is a much more favorable matchup.

Thumpasaurus: Purdue 45, Illinois 31

Yeah, I’m gonna be that guy, but my reasoning is sound. Hear me out. Illinois contained the Wisconsin offense because it was predictable enough that the Illini were able to identify plays and put themselves in position to stop them. Wisconsin had success passing, but generally preferred to keep it on the ground. Purdue cannot run the ball and has finally just accepted that they can’t run the ball. They’re going to throw at least 40 times, and they have the talent at receiver to burn the Illini secondary. Essentially, I have this one as a loss because it’s a really bad matchup for our weak pass defense. Offensive Coordinator Rod Smith is also 0-3 against Purdue DC Nick Holt, going back to the bowl game they coached when Smith was at Arizona. Purdue will keep throwing with a lead because it will be the only way they can sustain drives and hold on to the ball, so Illinois will have an opportunity to claw back into this one until the very end.

Michael Berns: Purdue 45, Illinois 17

No. I’m not negative, I just hate this matchup for Illinois’ defense. Purdue may not be as talented as Wisconsin was a week ago, but the way Purdue attacks on offense should be a massive headache for Lovie Smith. Purdue is the worst running team in the Big Ten, but they throw the ball like crazy and have no problem having quarterback Jack Plummer throw 40+ times a game.

Illinois is bad against the pass and the run, but the problem is Purdue has the conference’s best passing offense. David Bell has emerged as a top-three wide receiver in the Big Ten, and Jeff Brohm is great at exposing weaknesses and will have no issues freeing up Bell down the field.

As Thumpy said, Purdue’s D coordinator owns Rod Smith, so it’s up to the Illini O to score in big bunches like they did a year ago. We haven’t seen it this season. I don’t trust Illinois in a shootout, especially on the road. Losing to Purdue sucks. Losing to Purdue the week after beating Wisconsin sucks less.

Jacob Rajlich: Illinois 31, Purdue 17

Illinois has to keep the win train rolling, and with the momentum they’ve built up this week they best keep the boiler under steam as they pull into West Lafayette this weekend. If Illinois can highball out the gate and build an early lead they should be able to pull ahead and not look behind them.

Raul Rodriguez: Illinois 24, Purdue 21

I had my doubts on how the Illini would handle their biggest win in a decade and I was also concerned that the Illini would overlook Purdue with Illinutgers looming. But, TCR’s Thumpasaurus just pointed out that the Purdue-Illinois all-time series is tied up. I did my own research and confirmed that they are in fact tied at 44-44. So, this is now a must win for the Illini because this game has historic consequences. Expect the Illini to come out with a sense of urgency. They will bottle Purdue’s passing attack while Rod Smith will scheme up enough points for the Illini to pull this one out setting.

Kyle Huisinga: Illinois 38, Purdue 31

Oh boy, I’m taking the plunge again. I really hope I don’t regret this prediction. The effort has been there all season, but the execution was lacking. That changed in the second half last Saturday. Finally, in a game of inches, the Illini made all the big plays and didn’t self-destruct. I hope that’s more indicative of what will happen going forward. It might not be. Purdue is a bad team this year. Thanks in part to injuries and some rough defense, Purdue hasn’t found the wins yet. This will not be an easy game, by any means though. Jack Plummer and this Purdue passing offense will cause Illinois’s defense fits all game. I wouldn’t be surprised if their run game gets on track either. Michigan was not particularly great running the football, yet they racked up 200+ yards on the ground. That being said, the Illini offense should be able to run well and as long as Peters doesn’t panic every passing play, there should be some holes in the Boilermaker’s secondary. It’ll be close, but I want to believe. You made the national news for all the right reasons. Please don’t make them for all the wrong one’s next week.

Drew Pastorek: Illinois 26, Purdue 24

We’re all excited following Illinois’ exhilarating victory over the Badgers. It was basically our National Championship game. I hope the Illini didn’t get too gassed up and actually come prepared to play against Purdue. It’s a difficult matchup, but I think this is one of the games Illinois needs to win if they have hopes of becoming bowl eligible. The Boilermakers have a very potent passing attack and I expect freshman receiver David Bell to find a lot of open space against the Illini secondary. Jack Plummer (I like to call him Dusty Rhodes, because he’s the son of a Plummer) will probably throw a lot, which also leads to more high-risk plays. Lovie Smith’s defense will create a late turnover, which will set up another go-ahead field goal from James McCourt.

Patrick Catezone: Illinois 38, Purdue 31

I am going to give Lovie Smith the benefit of the doubt and predict the Illini to win this game. The secondary is going to have to play strong against the Jeff Brohm pass-first spread offense. Purdue has a new freshman phenom wide receiver in David Bell which means Nate Hobbs will have to play his best game of the year to give the Illini a chance. On the offensive side of the ball, Illinois will need to keep up with Jeff Brohm’s offense and score at least 30 points.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!