Illinois plays Wisconsin this week for the 150th Illinois Homecoming.
Location: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
Time: 11 AM CST
TV: ESPN, WatchESPN
The Gray Ghost uniforms return for #ILLINOIShomecoming.👀 👀
— Illini Football (@IlliniFootball) October 24, 2017
Keys for Illinois
Stop the Run
This has been a key all season. Illinois ranks as one of the worst rushing defenses in the country. Illinois has given up 4.74 yards a carry for 1475 yards and 13 TDs. In the last two weeks, Illinois has allowed over 270 yards a game on the ground and 6 rushing TDs. Wisconsin comes into the game with a 1000 yard rusher, Jonathan Taylor. This will be difficult matchup for Illinois who have time and again failed to stop the run and make open field tackles.
Turnovers into Touchdowns
Illinois is however, tied for 28th in the league for Turnover forced. The Lovie Smith defense can produce turnovers. Illinois has forces 13 fumbles, recovering 8 of them and intercepting the ball 6 times for 1 TD. But it doesn’t help that the young Illinois offense cannot hold on to the ball. Last week, a pick 6 in the 4th quarter on an underthrown pass by Cam Thomas was the difference in the ball game. Against Iowa, TDs were turned into turnover on underthrown passes by Jeff George Jr. The Wisconsin defense has intercepted the ball 10 times returning 4 of them for touchdowns. For Illinois to do well, it has to control the ball and control the clock. If Illinois slows down the clock and keeps the Wisconsin offense off the field, they have a fighting chance.
Illinois is starting too many freshman to be even competitive against the number 5 team in the country. These are very exciting times in Champaign, but Saturday night will not be one of them. Illinois loses 45-7. So if you are heading to Champaign stick to bars or tailgates, make the most of homecoming. Remember: Win or Lose, We Still Booze.