Mihir Chavan: #16 Illinois 30 - Michigan State 3
I drank too much of the koolaid and hoped Illinois would step on the gas last week. With the way the defense is playing, Illinois will get to a 2-3 score lead and coast. Michigan State struggles against the run, so I think Chase will go after his Heisman and break off some big runs for touchdowns. I’m back to my original take. 3 touchdowns and 1 field goal to put it away. Add two more garbage time field goals as Illinois takes the foot off the gas after the 3rd TD. Illinois puts itself 1 game away from securing the west in front of a sellout home crowd on Dad’s Day.
Matt Rejc: #16 Illinois 20 - Michigan State 7
There will be a few X-factors in this game, but the one I think will be most important is the weather. In case you haven’t seen, Central Illinois is going to have an unseasonably warm, rainy, and most importantly windy day on Saturday with gusts up to 40mph. Passing and kicking in such conditions will be…difficult to say the least. Think about the 2011 game against Ohio State in Champaign (17-7 final score with Braxton Miller throwing four times all game), and that’s what I’m thinking happens this week. Of course, Illinois and Chase Brown are in a much better position to win such a game compared to the Spartans. I predict a low-scoring affair that’s never really in doubt.
Brandt Dolce: #16 Illinois 38 - Michigan State 6
This is going to be an old-fashioned boat race. Illinois will get out of the gates fast, and finish through the tape. It’s hard to pick which facet of the Illinois squad to call out. I’ll start with the defense. DC Ryan Walters continues to butter up his resume for all of the AD’s looking for a young head coach. Sacks, turnovers and not many first downs for Sparty. Chase Brown will continue his ascent on the national scene. Illinois AD Josh Whitman should call America’s Cup and see if they want to buy rights to the game and broadcast it on ESPN2 at 3:30am. It’s boat race time!
Ethan Parker: #16 Illinois 28 - Michigan State 10
Michigan State is coming into Champaign after a very tough loss to Michigan (including the off-field debacle). Michigan State has a lot to sort out on and off the field, and I think the Illini will be too determined to fail. The weather is going to play a big impact on this game like Matt suggested so we could see Chase Brown have a monster game against a soft run defense. I’ll be generous and throw a TD in for the Spartans, but end all be all it won’t matter much. Illinois dominates the ground in this one with 3 rushing TD’s & Tommy will add a passing TD of his own. Show up and be loud Illini fans! I-L-L
Kyle Tausk: #16 Illinois 27 - Michigan State 10
Illinois shouldn’t have a lot of trouble with this Spartans team. Coming back home to a nearly sold out Memorial Stadium, I expect the Illini to play with a lot of energy against an opponent in turmoil. Michigan State will be missing a few key defensive players in this one due to suspension and the weather conditions should limit their downfield passing attack. I’m hesitant to pick a high scoring total for the Illini given their tendency to take their foot off the gas in the second half of games they mainly dominate, so I’ll go with a pretty low-stress 27-10 win that sets up a potential clincher against Purdue.
Pleas Honeywood: #16 Illinois 42 - Michigan State 9
Michigan State hasn’t been consistent all year. Jalen Berger isn’t putting up a Kenneth Walker III season, and with that the program has regressed to the mean. And the already struggling defense took several hits because several of their defensive players took several hits on a man on the ground in a tunnel. The roster is gutted, the season looks murky, and Mel Tucker has a lot of explaining to do. I’d love to bet on a close, competitive slugfest where Tucker has regained control of the locker room and the program. But I have every confidence that Illinois, in front of a sold out crowd, will put a prison beating on the Spartans, the likes of which several Spartan players will witness in prison after their disgusting behavior. It’s appropriate that this game is taking place on Dad’s Weekend. Because on Saturday, the Illini are going to be Sparty’s daddy.
Drew Pastorek: #16 Illinois 30 - Michigan State 10
As has been documented, the Spartans will be very shorthanded Saturday. And losing some of your best defensive players from a bad defense doesn’t bode well against a sound, smart Illini team. I do think the wind will have an impact on Tommy DeVito and the passing game and Illinois will run the ball even more than we’ve already seen – is this the week we FINALLY see Chase Brown have that monster 200+ yard game to officially mark his presence as a Heisman contender? I sincerely hope so. Mel Tucker’s team looks like it’s unraveling, and the Illini should be able to punish them in front of a capacity crowd in Champaign.
Ben Pekay: #16 Illinois 24 - Michigan State 17
Michigan State comes into this game as a program in turmoil and with little expectations. After last weekend’s assault, Michigan State will be missing their top defensive players and their offense unit has been incredibly inconsistent throughout the season. This entire game will be a slugfest but both teams will find ways to get to the endzone in a rainy sold-out game at memorial stadium. Chase Brown will have another huge game rushing for over 100 yards and the Spartans will have some success throwing the ball to Keon Coleman. At the end of the day, the Illini offense will play well enough for the Illini to win with Tommy Devito playing efficiently and relying on Chase Brown.
Will Charlton: #16 Illinois 31 - Michigan State 10
This game should not be close at all. I think from the get go the Illini are poised to get the job done against a team who is struggling mightily this season. Also, MSU suspended eight of their players after last week’s altercation. The Illini offense will play one of their most complete games of the season scoring four touchdowns on really nice drives, and the defense will continue to just dominate inferior opponents. Chase will extend his 100+ yard streak to 10 games, the offensive line will dominate the MSU front, Big Time Tommy will pass for over 200 yards, and the defense will force two or three key turnovers. This isn’t Sparta, this is Illinois, ILL.
Jack Jungmann: #16 Illinois 27 - Michigan State 3
I predicted Illinois to lose to Minnesota. I just don’t see any way at all, especially with the forecasted weather for saturday, that Illinois loses to this Spartans team. The weather lends to a hard-nosed game primarily on the ground. That has been Illinois’s gameplan regardless of weather. Especially with MSU’s best defensive player suspended, Chase Brown might rush for 200 yards.