Pregame: Illinois at USF, Friday, September 15th, 6:00pm CT, ESPN

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Bloomington
Think this will be a reality check for a lot of us. We just beat a team at home that is in the middle of a complete scheme change on both sides of the ball, who shot themselves in the foot nearly every drive, and who quite obviously lost some important talent from last year. Despite that, we scored 13 points on offense.

Now, the guys have looked much better than I expected. I might even revise my forecast upwards of four wins. But they're about to walk into the first road game of the season, in an emotionally charged environment, against a better team. This will be the first road game for almost half of the starters, and they'll be squaring off against the most dynamic skill player they've seen yet. And Flowers is a dual threat that can really spin it deep - no small task for a young d-line and untested secondary.

We might cover. I think we probably will. But I'd be shocked if we win. The offense would really have to turn it up to a notch I'm not convinced exists, and the defense would have to be even better than against WKU.

Even after all that cold water I just dumped, I'm excited for the game. Fun to watch these guys grow each game and dream about a brighter future.
 
       
I have this bad feeling that this game will be the football version of Michigan basketball booting us from the B1G tournament in their pajamas.
 
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Tyngsborough, MA
I'm cautiously optimistic. Even though I chose this as a loss in the prediction thread, I'm trending now toward a victory. At the very least, covering and playing a good game on both sides of the ball.
 
       
I think we do well IF our QB does not go wild and try threading the needle and the like. O needs to play within the scheme. D will do well.
 
       
I'm no expert, but personally I don't think we have much of a chance of winning. USF has too much to play for. However, USF also hasn't really blown out any of its previous opponents (San Jose State and Stony Brook). I don't know anything about either of these schools, but I think it's safe to say that we are likely more talented than them, especially if how we played against WKU wasn't a fluke.

So while I do expect us to lose, it might be closer than I would have said at the beginning of the year.
 
       
SJC, CA
I think that we get beat in all facets of the game, which will serve us well as we prepare for big 10 play. I believe this loss will provide motivation and teaching moments that will help us in the long run this season.

That being said, I would love to be wrong. :thumb:
 
       
Palmetto, FL
I personally think that Illinois will cover the spread in this game for a couple of reasons:

The defense is actually good. Through two games, this defense is flying to the football and is far better disciplined than I can remember an Illini defense since the mid 1990s. Defense keeps games close.

Secondly, the Illini offense is a clock-grinding, game-shortening type of offense. USF is vulnerable against the run, so if the Illini can grind out a few first downs, sustain a few drives, and lengthen USF's offensive field, then I think Illinois can keep it close.

In a perfect world, the Illini win. In a good showing, the Illini show solid defense against a high octane offense, the offensive line continues to improve, and the Illini break the USF streak of 19 games in a row over 30 points. In a blah game, the Illini are down 10 at the half and lose by 20.

The question is, if the Illini have a stinker, turn the ball over, get torched in the secondary, give up a ton of rushing yards to Flowers and get boat-raced 55-7.....how do the young Illini bounce back from that?

Literally, in this game, all the above scenarios are plausible.
 
       
Herndon, VA
I have this bad feeling that this game will be the football version of Michigan basketball booting us from the B1G tournament in their pajamas.

At this point of the season, with all the kids playing, I find I am have this feeling on every play. Although, I must add, my confidence is growing, especially when I see Mr. Gay roaming the backfield over and over
 
       
Castle Pines, Colorado
Yeahhhh in a game where we need balls to bounce our way in so many ways, the #FloridaStrong rallying cry coupled with the first responders and high schoolers in the crowd is going to be a thumb on the scale for USF that will be difficult for us

Yep. I think the impact of Irma is, unfortunately, going to be greater on the Illini than it was for the Tampa area on Sunday and Monday. Hope Lovie can sell the "I am with you all here because Tampa didn't want me" line or something similar. We need our own reason (besides just going 3-0).
 
       
This is another game that we need to win the trench war in. Just purely looking at the box scores (yeah probably not a very telling storying I know), USF's defense doesnt look all that formidable. 17 pts given up to stony brook and 22 to SJSU doesn't scream lockdown.

Their offense is what scares me. Luckily it looks like getting to Flowers isn't impossible, again Stony Brook had 5 sacks and SJSU had 3. Their rush game is something else too. Gotta find a way to slow that down.

Also, the Stony Brook game had a line of -36 and they only really had it poured on them in the latter half of the 4th. USF is beatable, but its going to take another effort similar to that of last weeks game.
 
       
Yep. I think the impact of Irma is, unfortunately, going to be greater on the Illini than it was for the Tampa area on Sunday and Monday. Hope Lovie can sell the "I am with you all here because Tampa didn't want me" line or something similar. We need our own reason (besides just going 3-0).

In general I think those motivations last for a short time early in the game. What you play for is your teammates, fear of getting your butt handed to you and hopefully a disdain for your opponent and the deep desire to best them on each and every play.

After the crash, I think Michigan felt like they were playing with house money and so just went out and played as the underdog.
 
       
SJC, CA
I am still confident in our team and I put my money where my mouth is...:)

 
       

Deleted member 533939

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I have this bad feeling that this game will be the football version of Michigan basketball booting us from the B1G tournament in their pajamas.
I remember in 2005, the only playoff game the White Sox lost was under similar circumstances.

Due to rain, the Angels played game 4 in New York on October 9th, flew to LA and played game 5 on October 10th, and then flew to Chicago and played game 1 against the Sox on October 11th.

Adrenaline won't last all season, but I think it helps USF this Friday.
 
       
I think I have said this before, but with the steady removal of most "old school" aspects of Illini athletics (the Chief, the War Chant, some [admittedly bad] logos, etc.), I have started to change my outlook on the uniforms. Save the white helmets and blue pants and all that nonsense for special games. We need to develop a look, and I now officially support O/B/O (home) and O/W/O (away) being at least the DEFAULT uniform and only changing it if it's for a reason.
 
       
In the land of the Nittany Lion

Well, per the video, when Stony Brook's D-line is bunched up in about 15 feet and Flowers has an open field in front of him, he can run straight ahead and fall on the ground. With all do respect, I could do that too. Can USF bottle up the D-line like that?

I know I'm not football swami, but Flowers does things in his highlights, it's the protection that hands it to him on a platter. Can FSU make a platter out of our D? I think that's the question of the game, whether we can make enough "havoc in the backfield."

Yeah, I know. That's Captain Obvious speaking. But looking at what I've seen in some analysis video, if FSU can't do a better job against a New York "directional" university than they did, I don't see how they're ranked. I guess we'll find out Friday night.
 
       
Tyngsborough, MA
But looking at what I've seen in some analysis video, if FSU can't do a better job against a New York "directional" university than they did, I don't see how they're ranked. I guess we'll find out Friday night.

Our D did a much better job against WKU than anyone expected. You are on to something here. Our D will do well against FSU.
 
       
Parts Unknown
Our D did a much better job against WKU than anyone expected. You are on to something here. Our D will do well against FSU.

Too bad we are playing USF.
 
       
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