Pregame: Illinois vs Akron, Saturday, August 31st, 11:00am CT, BTN

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My heart says things finally click and my frustration with seemingly disorganized and - at times - passionless football that we have seen from time to time over the last few years has come to an end ... Illini win 45-17.

My head says we take a week to get things in gear and have a slightly less scary version of the Ball State debacle a few years back ... Illini win 34-24.

If we actually lose, things are worse than any of us imagined. Let's take care of business, boys! So great for football to be back.
 
Likes: Illinir1
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New Route for Illini Walk
https://fightingillini.com/news/2019/8/25/football-new-route-for-illini-walk.aspx?path=football

19 Gameday Enhancements for 2019 Illinois Football Season
https://fightingillini.com/news/201...9-illinois-football-season.aspx?path=football


Lovie: Brandon Peters will lead our team. Love everything about him. He can throw it. He can run. He's moving into a leadership role quickly.

Lovie: TE Daniel Barker has had about as good of a training camp as anyone.

Lovie: Defense has to own what we've been the last couple years. We're better. I'm excited to show it this Saturday at 11 o'clock.

Lovie: First game of season you never know what to expect. Akron has a new coaching staff. Did good things at Tennessee-Chattanooga. Expect a wide-open offense coming at us.

Lovie: Brandon has picked up the offense quickly. He's earned respect from teammates with his play on the field. Can't wait to see him play on the field.

Lovie: When we played young players, they were our best players. Those athletes have grown up. They're excited. They know what to expect.

Lovie: From the moment they burst inside the door of new facility, there's been a new intensity. This is a good environment to be in, conducive to learning.

Lovie on favorite part of facility: "Personally? I would say my office."

Lovie: "You just want a level playing field (in facilities). Now, we have a level playing field."

Lovie: Beason was going to be in our rotation quickly, to say the least. When he goes down, everyone else has to move up.

Lovie: Injury-wise we're in pretty good shape.

Lovie: Sydney Brown had a significant hamstring injury. Wasn't quite ready to go on Saturday.
reference to last Saturday's practice. Sounds questionable for this week

Lovie: What Daniel Barker brings is a big body, physical guy. He can be a good inline TE to block DEs, but you also can spread him out and run all the routes. He can catch the football, plays with energy and he's a competitor. He's going to have an outstanding year.

https://twitter.com/JWerner247/with_replies

 
Likes: JimILL75
Plainfield
If we do not demolish them it’s only because we’re testing different things (plays and personnel). If we simply run at them we would demolish them.
 
I went and peeked in on Zips Nation to see what the Akron fans were saying about this game. They seem confident that they have a chance. Doesn't hurt that they beat Northwestern last year. One is a Michigan fan that made fun of how bad Peters is at Quarterback. After reading all those comments, I really want to win by 40!
 
Professional Social Distancer
Virginia
I went and peeked in on Zips Nation to see what the Akron fans were saying about this game. They seem confident that they have a chance. Doesn't hurt that they beat Northwestern last year. One is a Michigan fan that made fun of how bad Peters is at Quarterback. After reading all those comments, I really want to win by 40!
Surely there’s a way to display the comments randomly in our new slick locker room 😉
 
My Prediction

UoI 31 - 28 Akron

My Reasoning: Week 1 is always a messy week that teams use to hone in on what they need to work on (ie UF & UM); I think the Illini will be no different. Peters lack of experience with the current WR corps will limit the amount of explosive plays against Akron (that and Akrons secondary is arguably its best unit); even though I think they will jump out to a big lead, they will let Akron come back in the 4th. Im thinking they let up 2 garbage time scores (one off of a boneheaded turnover) to make the final score 31-28.
Shouldn't the Zips screw up too, letting us score more than we might otherwise later in the season, and not score as much themselves either? Why should they be on top form earlier? And didn't Akron beat Northwestern last year, and Northwestern beat us? Don't be defeatist. Don't be cocky. There's a reason they play the game.
 
Kelso, WA
Illini 27-17. Much closer than other predictions, but I'm not too optimistic about this team. Hope I'm wrong.
 
Kelso, WA
There are too many captains these days, and don't you even think about stepping on my lawn! 😠
Yep. You'd think one or maybe two captains would be enough. But five? Guess it's like so many things in sports these days: overdone.
 
St Louis
14-6 at half, 28-13 final, Illini. Illinois will look much better in the second half, in total control of the game, but there will be an odd play or turnover in the red zone so the final score will look closer.

IW will play...a few designed runs, a couple easy passes on either roll outs or bubbles. He will attempt to throw deep, but will tuck and run quickly.
 
All I ask for is some nice pass plays. This team will be able to run. Defense is still way to question marky to really expect a huge leap. If we can have a middle of the road passing game (improved QB, WR, and OL play seem to suggest it's at least possible), then this offense is probably in the top tier in the B1G.

Defense almost has to be improved... I'd like to see the unit keep them under 25 pts.
 
Always Illini
Central Illinois
I am going with 31-9 for the good guys. No real basis but I did have lasagna last night.
 
Likes: the national
Shouldn't the Zips screw up too, letting us score more than we might otherwise later in the season, and not score as much themselves either? Why should they be on top form earlier? And didn't Akron beat Northwestern last year, and Northwestern beat us? Don't be defeatist. Don't be cocky. There's a reason they play the game.
They have an experienced QB in their system. Thats something we do not have. They have defensive continuity similar to ours; this is their NU game this year (in terms of importance). They will show up to play. Will we? Thats a much tougher ask for week 1. Especially against a perceived inferior opponent.

IMO UoI should schedule a tough recruiting regional juggernaut for week 1 every year (think Notre Dame). That way it heightens their exposure; may help with in state recruiting.
 
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