Minnesota vs. Illinois Prediction, Game Preview

    Minnesota vs. Illinois prediction and game preview. The Golden Gophers look to improve to 5-6 as they host the Fighting Illini.

    November 17, 2015


    Minnesota vs. Illinois Game Preview

    Broadcast

    Date: Saturday, Nov. 21
    Game Time: 12:00 pm
    Venue: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

    Network: ESPN Network

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    Why You Need To Care

    Illinois is floundering down the stretch, but none of it matters if it comes up with a win to get bowl eligible. The athletic director is gone, the program is in chaos, and this might be a time of transition, but interim head coach Bill Cubit is lobbying hard for the job. It’s sort of a hard sell after losing four of the last five games, but the defense has been good enough to get by. There’s no shame in losing to Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State and Ohio State, but it would’ve been a plus to have beaten one of them. Northwestern closes things out, but getting that sixth win now against Minnesota would make things a lot easier.

    Minnesota just doesn’t have any luck. It pushed Ohio State and Iowa on the road, but lost both games, and it had Michigan done, until it didn’t. Like Illinois, the Gophers’ long losing streak is only broken up by a win over Purdue, and now they have to beat Illinois and Wisconsin at home to get a bowl bid.

    Why Illinois Will Win

    The Minnesota running game has gone bye-bye. Actually, it’s taking a nap. The power game of last year is nowhere to be found, only running for more than 144 yards once in Big Ten play – that win over Purdue. The offensive line did an okay job against Iowa, and it got a little bit of a shove against Michigan, but it’s not really working. The Illinois secondary and the pass defense have been a plus. Make the Gophers win on the ground, and their offense stops.

    Why Minnesota Will Win

    The Illinois offense has hit a wall. It did a nice job against Purdue, but that was it scoring 20 points or fewer in the six Power Five teams on the schedule. This isn’t an explosive attack, and it’s not efficient through the air. As long as the Gophers don’t come up with a ton of big mistakes, and if they’re able to put a few points on the board early, they’ll make Illinois press. This isn’t an Illinois team that can come from behind – Minnesota needs to take the air out of the ball.

    Player Who Matters

    Minnesota safety Antonio Johnson is coming up with a strong season and should be in the mix for All-Big Ten honors. The 6-0, 206-pound senior leads the team with 78 tackles with two broken up passes, and while he’s not flashy, he’s a rock against the run. Last week he came up with 14 tackles against Iowa after cranking up nine against Ohio State the week before.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    Minnesota will dominate at home. It’s overdue for a very strong wire-to-wire performance, and even though Illinois will come up with a few good defensive stops to stay alive, it’ll get away late.

    Minnesota vs. Illinois Prediction

    Final Score: Minnesota 27, Illinois 17, Line: Minnesota -4.5, o/u: 47

    Must See Rating: 5: The Night Before – 1: Donny! … 3

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