Thursday, October 4, 2007

Badgers - Illinois Primer

From CollegeFootballNews.com

Wisconsin (5-0) at Illinois (4-1) 12:00 PM ESPN

Why to watch: This is it, Illinois. You asked if you could sit at the big boy table last week against Penn State, and you proved you could handle yourself well with a 27-20 win that was better than the final score indicates. Now you want to join the adult discussion with a win over Wisconsin. This is an Illini team no one wants to face right now. It's young, extremely athletic, and just now realizing how good it's starting to become. Meanwhile, the Badgers just keep on winning, continuing the nation's longest winning streak at 14 with a tough win over Michigan State. While high up in the polls, few actually believe this is one of the five best teams in America, and just about everyone is waiting for the curtain to be pulled back and everything to be exposed. Is this 2002 Ohio State in the way it just wins, baby, or is it 2007 Texas and an overrated team getting national love on name recognition? This week might clear things up a bit.
Why Wisconsin might win: Illinois is about to understand what it feels like to be run over by a steamroller. The Illini run defense has been terrific so far, but that's partly because it hasn't faced anyone who could actually pound the ball effectively. Oh sure, Penn State's ground game is fine, and Missouri can run a bit, but Wisconsin will spend the entire game setting things up so the Illini defensive front wears down in the second half. Along the way, Wisconsin should be able to connect on at least two huge pass plays against the suspect Illini secondary.
Why Illinois might win: Wisconsin is about to understand what it feels like to be run around. The Badgers had a nightmare of a time with Javon Ringer and the Michigan State running game last week, giving up big run after big run. They also had major problems dealing with UNLV's and Citadel's running quarterbacks and the spread offenses. Illinois will provide a mix of nightmares, with QB Juice Williams to give the UW linebackers fits with his mobility, while RB Rashard Mendenhall should be able to bust off yards in chunks inside and out. If Illinois can downfield block like Michigan State was able to, 300 rushing yards is a possibility.
Who to watch: Illinois has gotten away with the inefficient passing of Juice Williams so far, but now he'll have to come up with one of his most accurate games yet. Wisconsin will triple dog dare him to throw deep, selling out time and again to make sure he doesn't take off, and doing what it can to keep Mendenhall under wraps. Penn State's linebacking corps, a far better group than Wisconsin's, was able to do that, forcing Williams to complete just 11 of 24 passes with a touchdown and two interceptions, but the Nittany Lion offense screwed it all up by turning it over four times. If Williams can hit on two big deep passes early, the entire tone of the game will change.
What will happen: Wisconsin is way overdue to get its doors blown off, but so is Illinois. Wisconsin will roll of 500 yards of total offense to overcome a huge day from Williams. Expect a wild shootout with the Badgers hanging on in the fourth quarter ... again.
CFN Prediction: Wisconsin 34 ... Illinois 31 ... Line: Illinois -2.5

6 comments:

Train said...

Just as long as it's not another 3-3 tie

Brad said...

My first Badger game ever...3-3 tie. Carl McCullough couldnt run past the Simeon Rice-Kevin Hardy duo...

Train said...

If I remember correctly it was a 11am game. I was asleep in my sh1t hole room in LaX- I had to work (stand there and drink) till 3am the night before and was running on Special X fumes.

I woke up for the exciting finish

Brad said...

I want to say it was a late game because it was colder than Planet Hoth.

Train said...

It very well could have been...I may have went to the afterbar and took a turn on the Gobbler. (think a bunch of stoners sitting around in a circle with tubes all over the place)

Matt said...

I think it was one of those 1:30 games that isn't on TV...

Remember when Bevell nearly got killed as part of an Illini sandwich and we got to see our first glimpse of Mike Samuel?