Illinois vs. Middle Tennessee Prediction, Game Preview

    Illinois vs. Middle Tennessee prediction and game preview. The 2-1 Illini look to rebound after a loss last week to North Carolina when they host the 2-1 Blue Raiders.

    September 21, 2015

    Can the Illinois Fighting Illini rebound from their first loss when the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders invade Champaign? We take a look below in the Illinois vs. Middle Tennessee prediction and game preview.

    Illinois vs. Middle Tennessee Prediction & Preview

    Broadcast

    Date: Saturday, September 26
    Game Time: 4:00 ET
    Network: ESPNews

    Follow and/or Contact @Rich Cirminiello  

    Why You Need To Care

    Middle Tennessee and Illinois were on the winning and losing ends, respectively, of shellackings last Saturday. The Blue Raiders hammered Charlotte in Conference USA, but a win in Big Ten country would really boost the program’s reputation and confidence. The Illini was exposed by North Carolina, 48-14, to reset expectations following blowouts of Kent State and Western Illinois. This week is a crossroads moment for interim coach Bill Cubit and his team.

    Why Middle Tennessee Will Win

    No, the Blue Raiders won’t roll the way they did versus Jackson State and Charlotte, but the offense is efficient and diverse. And it’s not as if the Illini D showed anything last weekend in Chapel Hill. Middle Tennessee can work the clock with Jordan Parker on the ground, while QB Brent Stockstill accurately dissects the Illinois secondary.

    Why Illinois Will Win

    The Illini can move the ball with balance as well. And their backfield duo of QB Wes Lunt and RB Josh Ferguson has a higher ceiling than Stockstill and Parker. Ferguson was one of the bright spots in the Tar Heel loss, rushing for 133 yards, and Lunt to Geronimo Allison will be a problem for the Middle Tennessee cornerbacks.

    Player Who Matters

    Illinois will need to win the line of scrimmage to halt the Blue Raider offense. It didn’t happen in Week 3 against Carolina. Junior LEO Dawuane Smoot is having a good year applying pressure, but he’s been a solo act. The Illini have just one sack in three games, and Stockstill can throw darts when he’s able to set his feet.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    Illinois and Middle Tennessee aren’t as different as the conference affiliations may indicate, especially since the schools are currently traveling in opposite directions. A return home will help the Illini avoid the upset, but the Blue Raiders are a veteran and balanced squad that can compete here for all 60 minutes.

    Illinois vs. Middle Tennessee Score Prediction

    Final Score: Illinois 38, Middle Tennessee 33, Line: Illinois -6.5, o/u: 61.5
    Must See Rating: 5: Republican Debate, Second Round – 1: Republican Debate, First Round … 2.5

    MORE: College Football Bowl Projections After Week 3

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