7-2 Illinois football takes on 5-4 Purdue at home again in Champaign this Saturday after a tough loss to Michigan State last week.
Just to recap quickly last week’s loss because I don’t want to talk long about it. Michigan State stinks like I said in last week’s preview but Illinois probably played the worst they could have played. It was very very windy just like we saw in Northwestern with Ohio State so its understandable the scheme might change but it was a significant problem that the run game was not sharp. Chase Brown had two fumbles and the biggest issue was 3rd down.
Illinois had so many 3rd and longs there were very few third and shorts and when there were Illinois football still could not pick it up. They went 0 for 6 on fourth down. While stats for Brown and DeVito look ok on the outside it was the untimely success that cost them. Also a horrendous punt in Illinois’ territory was a backbreaker.
Moving on to more important things such as the road to the Big Ten championship. Well that is still very much in play even with a loss to Michigan next week if that even happens.
I understand they just lost to Michigan State but Bielama is sneaky and at the very least Illinois football could cover the spread there. I digress from the Michigan game. The Big Ten West is Illinois football’s if they beat Purdue and beat Northwestern in the final week of the season. Case closed.
Purdue got killed last week by Iowa as they only put up 3 points and they allowed Iowa to score 24 points which is hard to do since Iowa is miserable at offense. Aidan O’Connell is the Purdue quarterback who has been there for a while and is quite experienced.
While I mentioned they only had 3 points last week there is something to be wary of with O’Connell. He has played some insane games in the past and has put up monster numbers in big games. You know how Purdue always knocks off a ranked opponent once or twice a year recently? That was Aidan O’Connell. While it does not look like things are all together for Purdue like they were at times last year Illinois football can’t forget what Purdue and O’Connell like to do. Which is ruin seasons.
While DeVito and Brown had nice numbers, besides two fumbles form Chase, the two of them have to be more timely with their success.
First down and second down are even more paramount this week after seeing what took place on third downs last week. Good news for Illinois football is the OC Barry Lunney has agreed to stay next year with the Illini. He has done a great job with Brown and especially DeVito who is 2nd in the nation in completion percentage. Illinois football will be fine as long as the turnovers are limited comparatively to last week and if they convert 3rd downs. Hopefully this week Illinois football and Bielama will also play the field position battle better. Punt well and force Purdue to make long drives against this defense.
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