The Hawkeyes Mic picks are in for the Iowa – Illinois Game. It’s not only unanimous – it’s indicative of a belief that the Hawkeyes are going to put up lots of points against the Illini. Check them out – see if you agree or disagree.
Scott Dochterman – Iowa 45-20:
It’s easy to get down on Iowa during its three-game losing streak. But those three losses have come by 12 total points to some decent teams. The Hawkeyes still rank second among Big Ten teams in scoring defense, total defense and rush defense. The Hawkeyes also are second in time of possession, convert 45.2 percent on third down and are plus-4 in turnover margin.
This is a classic “get well” game for Iowa that doesn’t erase the pain from previous weeks, but it dulls the senses for a day or two.
Steve Batterson – Iowa 42-28:
Expect Illinois’ porous defense – allowing 532.9 yards per game – to be a quick fix for what has been ailing the Iowa offense. The Hawkeyes should find some room to run and will likely be able to complete their share of passes against a young Illini defense. Noah Fant might even catch a couple of balls.
Illinois’ offense, which has averaged 406.5 rushing yards in its past two games, should be able to keep things close for a while as was the case a year ago at Kinnick when Iowa led 17-13 at the half. But this is a match-up where the Iowa defense should be able to wrestle control of the game in the final two quarters and ultimately provide the Hawkeyes with a win.
Brendan Stiles – Iowa 41-10:
Illinois’ defense is atrocious this season, particularly against the run. This sets up perfectly for what Kirk and Brian Ferentz want to do offensively. Throw in the fact that wind will likely be a factor (as it almost always is) in Champaign, and I expect Ivory Kelly-Martin, Toren Young, and Makhi Sargent to all play key roles in Iowa’s game plan. I see the Hawkeyes literally running away with this one in a rout.
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Tyler Tjelmeland – Iowa 35-10:
The Iowa defense was put on notice last week after getting slashed for 184 yards to a poor rush offense. They should respond to that, even with a very strong Illini rush coming in. The Iowa offense has looked pitiful lately, but the Illini defense is Swiss cheese at times & cycling in running backs will keep them reeling. Iowa gets off the snide & back to having a… well, a season.
Jack Brandsgard – Iowa 38-17:
This should be classified as a “must win” for Iowa. The difference between a win or four-straight losses moving into the final game of the season is a huge swing, and thus brings huge importance to this game.
Illinois has a deadly rushing attack. Running back Reggie Corbin enters the game second in the Big Ten in rushing (1,011 yards) and tops in yards per attempt at a staggering 8.9. Among Big Ten quarterbacks, Illinois’ AJ Bush Jr. ranks first in rushing yards (659) and yards per attempt (6.0). This area will be the focus of an Iowa defense that ranks sixth in the nation in rushing defense (96.0 yards per game).
Illinois’ defense is by far the worst in the Big Ten, allowing 38.6 points (last), 247.9 rush yards (last), and 275.1 pass yards per game (last). If there is ever a game for Iowa to get Noah Fant back on track, it’s this one. Look for this to be a bounce-back game for the Hawkeyes.
John Patchett – Iowa 41-24:
I’ve picked Iowa the last three weeks – look where that’s got me. In my defense, so have most of the others here. Well – in spite of some misgivings earlier in the week – I’m going to do it again.
I think Iowa’s Defense is very motivated to return to form: stout against the run. I don’t believe they’ll be able to stop the Illini rushing attack – but I think they will be able to slow it down. Iowa’s pass defense has really been tough, especially since game five. Look for at least two INTs this week in Champaign. And this may finally be the game where ISM goes the distance on a kick return.
If Iowa’s Offense – particularly its run game – can’t get going against Illinois – there is no hope for the next two games. The Illini just can’t seem to stop the run – they’ve surrendered an average of nearly 250 yards per game on the ground – and gave up a whopping 316 rushing yards last week at Nebraska.
While the Fighting Illini need to win their last two games to become bowl-eligible – the Hawkeyes are fighting for pride and a strong finish to the 2018 regular season. Lose this game, and Iowa likely goes 7-5. Win and 8-4 is a strong possibility. So I’m sticking with Iowa in the flatlands of Central Illinois.
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