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Week 8: Illinois vs. Purdue Preview & Free Pick

Illinois vs Purdue Handicapping

Illinois is coming off a disappointing home loss to Ohio State last weekend. The Fighting Illini still have a chance to be a player in the Big Ten Leaders Division, but they must get back on track right away.

Kyle Hunter

Kyle Hunter

Purdue fought hard, but came up short against Penn State in Happy Valley last week. The Boilermakers will look to pull off a big upset at home this week.

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Illinois vs. Purdue
Ross-Ade Stadium
Saturday October 22, 12:00 PM EST
NCAA Football Odds from 5Dimes
Moneyline: Off
College Football Spread: Illinois -4 (-110) Purdue +4 (-110)
Over/Under: 47

The Illinois offense was really shut down by Ohio State last Saturday. Illinois didn’t score until there was six minutes left in the contest. The running game barely mustered 100 yards, which was less than half their average per game. Nathan Scheelhaase is a much improved quarterback, but he had a poor game last week. The Fighting Illini turned the ball over three times last week, and that was simply too much to overcome. Scheelhaase is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, and I expect him to bounce back nicely. A.J. Jenkins already has 54 catches, but the team needs to find a reliable second option in the passing game.

The Illinois defense has been a real area of strength this season. Illinois is currently ranked 12th in the nation in total defense. This is a defense that really rallies to the football well, but they are slightly vulnerable against a power running attack like Ohio State’s. Can this unit use their team speed to shut down the Purdue offense?

Purdue has had more trouble with serious injuries than just about any other team in the nation in the last year. Rob Henry was going to be the starter under center for the team this year, but he tore his ACL just days before the season started. Caleb TerBush has seen most of the playing time at quarterback this year, but Robert Marve has also taken some snaps under center. The passing game has never really gotten on track this season. The Boilermakers are averaging ust 194 passing yards per contest. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Ralph Bolden and Akeem Shavers give Purdue a nice one-two punch in the backfield. Both running backs are averaging more than five yards per carry this season. If Purdue is going to win this game, they will have to establish the running game early and often.

The Purdue defense has some very talented players, but they also have some major holes. Ryan Kerrigan was a beast at the defensive end spot last year, and the Boilermakers clearly miss him. Ricardo Allen is a play maker in the secondary, and most opponents try to throw the ball to the other side of the field rather than challenge Allen. Purdue’s rushing defense has struggled this year.

Neither offense is particularly strong, but Scheelhaase gives the Fighting Illini a clear advantage at the quarterback spot. Illinois beat Purdue 44-10 last year. This one should be a whole lot closer, but I still think Illinois covers this small number.

Free College Football Pick: Illinois -4
Score Prediction: Illinois 27 Purdue 17

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About Kyle Hunter

Kyle Hunter sports picks – A degree in finance and a great ability to follow important trends and statistics set him apart from the rest. Totals are Kyle's specialty, so look for a lot of totals picks from NBA, NCAAF, & the NFL. Check out his plays today.


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