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Indiana at Illinois: game preview, stats, odds, kickoff time, tv, and more

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The Hoosiers are in must-win territory and there’s no way that’ll go poorly, right?

Illinois v Purdue Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Game Info / How to Watch

Who? Indiana Hoosiers (3-6 [0-6], #62 S&P+) at Illinois Fighting Illini (2-7 [0-6], #114 S&P+)

When? Saturday, 11/11, 12:00 PM, Champaign, IL

Channel? BTN

Vegas? INDIANA -8

S&P+ Projection? INDIANA, 27.8 -19.5


Good news guys. Someone is going to finally get a Big Ten win this week in Champaign. The bad news is that Indiana is now in must-win territory and I can’t imagine a worse spot for #CHAOSTEAM to be in.

ON TO THE NUMBERS

FIVE FACTORS

- Explosiveness (86%) Efficiency (83%) Field Position (75%) Finishing Drives (72%) Turnover Margin (73%)
- Explosiveness (86%) Efficiency (83%) Field Position (75%) Finishing Drives (72%) Turnover Margin (73%)
INDIANA (#102 offense) 1.01 (120th) 37.9% (110th) 28.2 (100th) 4.69 (41st) -10 (121st)
ILLINOIS (#76 defense) 1.02 (12th) 46.6% (113th) 31.6 (112th) 4.51 (79th) -3 (90th)
- - - - - -
ILLINOIS (#122 offense) 1.04 (114th) 37.7% (114th) 29.0 (82nd) 3.21 (129th) -3 (90th)
INDIANA (#33 defense) 1.05 (23rd) 38.5% (38th) 30.9 (101st) 4.84 (102nd) -10 (121st)

This is a contest with a whole lot of subpar units and then a Still Good Indiana defense. Indiana’s offense has finally stopped its plummet and has played in the low 100s, which I don’t have to tell you is terrible.

Even after Indiana’s terrible performance against Maryland and last week’s beat down by Wisconsin, Indiana comes into the game with a top-35 defense, still an incredible feat for IU.

Possibly equally incredible is that the Hoosiers have a terrible offense no matter who is under center, which goes to show how important a good offensive line is! Richard Lagow is listed atop the depth chart so expect IU to be slangin’ away on Saturday.

It also doesn’t sound like Peyton Ramsey is ready to play. Instead of burning Nick Tronti’s redshirt in a 4-8 season, I present a different possibility.

Anyways, here’s Wonderwall

OFFENSE

It’s not a shock that Illinois is bad on offense, particularly in its passing game. Every facet of their passing game is below average from success rate (113th in country) to their adjusted sack rate (118th).

Jeff George, Jr. has just a 52.3 percent completion percentage and no receiver has more than 27 catches or more than 400 yards.

On the ground, it’s hardly better. Illinois actually creates holes for the backs (59th in opportunity rate, but none of their backs take advantage of it. Five Illini have between 160 and 340 yards as its the definition of a backfield by committee. All of them have an opportunity rate above 28 percent and three of them have an opportunity rate above 49 percent, which means the struggles can likely be pinned on the backs and not the line.

Illinois is one of the best teams in the country in short yardage situations, another sign of the line doing its job in run blocking. The key for Indiana will be forcing them into passing situations and feasting on them from there.

DEFENSE

Across the board, Illinois is a bad defensive team save for one aspect. The Illini do not give up big plays. They are 12th in the country in explosiveness, which is the not only the only aspect of the defense they are good at, it’s the only aspect they are better than below-average at.

You could either chalk this up to Illinois taking “don’t let anybody behind you” to extreme levels defensively, or the more likely answer is that teams are taking the six yards the Illini give them rather than taking shots downfield and potentially getting off schedule.

Illinois is marginally better against the pass than the run, but we’re talking being ranked 95th vs. being ranked 105th. It’s a bad unit no matter how you slice it.

The team does only have a -3 turnover margin despite its offense, which means the defense can force turnovers. But only the defensive line has a Havoc Rate that’s close to average.

3 Things

  • Feed Simmie Cobbs - I can’t say this enough. It was one of my points when I wrote the Maryland preview and it’ll honestly be one of my points so long as I write the preview. Cobbs should be targeted no less than 12 times a week the rest of the season against the competition they’ll be facing.
  • Richard Lagow vs. interceptions - Gun slingin’ Dicky Lagow reminded us last week just how much of a gun slinger he was with two back-breaking interceptions. This week, the defense he’ll be facing will be a huge downgrade and he should have more time in the pocket to sit back and pick Illinois apart.
  • Remaining on track to be bowl eligible - It’s the thought still in the back of everyone’s minds. The Hoosiers can still make a bowl game and no matter how much we’ve all written it off, the chance is still there. Simply beat the two worst teams in the Big Ten and you head into West Lafayette with a bowl berth on the line.

PREDICTION

If Indiana loses this one, there are a lot of very serious questions that need to be asked. Illinois hasn’t won a football game in two months. Indiana wins 31-13.