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TCR Staff Predictions: Illinois vs. EMU

One writer predicts an upset.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Cohn: Illinois 21, EMU 17

I predicted 52-3 wins the first two weeks. That doesn’t seem likely as EMU is the toughest team on Illinois’ schedule to date. But a few early punches back and forth early and a late Reggie Corbin TD gives Illinois a win that feels more like an upset. I believe the Illini are much better than the Eagles, and we should be at a point where we’re not afraid of MAC teams, but I just don’t feel confident enough that the Illini have a comfortable lead at any point in the game. If UConn went different, then I feel good. But it didn't go great. Survive and advance please.

Tristen Kissack: Illinois 38, EMU 34

Time to see what this team is made of. EMU’s the best test for the Illini thus far, and I’ll think it go down to the wire. Reggie should be back this week, Peters started to find a groove with his receivers, but how will the defense fare? Anyways, 3-0 heading into Nebraska under the lights. (If we win on a defensive/special teams touchdown, I’ll buy Bernsy a beer)

Michael Berns: Illinois 28, EMU 24

This game could be a grinder — a tough slugfest featuring many punts for both sides and even more frustrated faces in the Illini student section. Illinois’ wide receivers look the part, but this secondary at EMU is much better than what the Illini have faced the last two weeks. A nail-biter, Illinois likely needs a defensive/special teams touchdown to finally put this one away late in the 4th quarter.

Matt Rejc: Illinois 35, EMU 31

Since Reggie Corbin was suited up and warming with the team in Hartford last week, I’m going to guess that he will play against EMU this week. Getting him back and pairing him with a few tricks that Rod Smith may have up his sleeve (read: Isaiah Williams) should boost the Illini offense over the top. That said, I expect the defense to continue struggling to contain the pass.

Drew Pastorek: Illinois 27, EMU 21

I, too, am predicting a squeaker for the Illini. This is the best secondary Illinois will have faced so far, so Brandon Peters could be challenged and the wideouts could have trouble getting separation. EMU’s offense begins and ends with QB Mike Glass. The Eagles’ running game has been horrid, so they’ll need Glass to make plays in order to sustain drives. EMU will be playing its third straight road game but will be undeterred heading to Champaign -- the Eagles have beaten a B1G squad each of the past two years. Like last week, the Illini make a late 4th quarter stop to hold off the upset bid.

Jacob Rajlich: Illinois 24, EMU 14

While last week brought me back down to Earth from my initial optimism on this year’s team, I still see a W in the cards for the Illini against the toughest opponent they’ll have faced to date this year, though in a lower-scoring affair than either of the previous two games. If Illinois could start their season 3-0, I’d be ecstatic. I sure hope they do...

Matt O’Neall: EMU 31, Illinois 27

The night is dark and full of terrors. We haven’t been 3-0 since 2011, why would good things start happening now during this decade? The emus are the most competent team we’ve played so far and they’ve collected a Big Ten pelt in each of the last two seasons. Let’s see if the havoc of the front seven is for real

Kyle Huisinga: Illinois 35, EMU 21

I agree with most here that this will be the toughest non-conference matchup. However, I feel people are making inferences based on past performance. This team is more talented than any Illini team over the last 8 years. Yes, they have deficiencies. Yes, they played a close game against an inferior opponent last week. I just feel different about this team. I’m probably going to regret this feeling as the familiar “oh we got 60 balled by that team” moment happens, but it won’t be this game. I have the feeling EMU will punch Illinois in the mouth early, like UCONN. However, this offense will be as close to full strength as it’s been, and the defense should have it’s entire starting unit available, including Sydney Brown. Illinois will comport itself with a bit more discipline this time around, and a close game becomes a sigh of relief late. Brandon Peters adds to his early success, and the defensive front feasts on EMU’s offensive line. The secondary will bend but not break. This is certainly not a team the Illini can overlook (there is no team out there Illinois should overlook), but I predict a fairly easy victory for Illinois.