ILLINOIS 41 LOUISIANA TECH 28
I have gone back and forth on this one all week. For a while I was picking in favor of La Tech, thinking their offense was going to be too much for our defense to handle. Then I look at the fact that this team can't stop anyone. They've scored 50+ points in their first two games (Houston and Rice), but have allowed a combined 86 points. They gave up 49 points to the Houston Cougars, a team that could only score 13 against Texas State in a 30-13 loss. Against Houston, they gave up 580 passing yards! Against Rice, 272 rushing yards! The Bulldogs have struggled at stopping average teams.
Their first crack at a solid team got postponed because of Hurricane Issac. They were suppose to play Texas A&M in week one. That game got rescheduled for October 13th. I feel this will be the best overall team they have faced so far.
It looks like Nathan Scheelhaase is in prime position to return to the field Saturday. As of the Wednesday report, coach Tim Beckman said he was almost at 100 percent. Even though I'm glad to see him back, I am worried a bit about the fact he hasn't seen game action in what will be 20 days. It will be important to get off to a good start and put the pressure on their offense, so we need Nathan to be on his A-game.
The place where I feel Scheelhaase will help us the most is with the running game. What's the best way to stop a high power offense? Keep them off the field. This is why we need Nathan's legs. So far, Illinois' rushing attack has been underwhelming. We will need these guys to eat up some clock to keep the Bulldogs offense on the sidelines.
In the end, it boils down to how Illinois' defense plays, I think they will come up huge. They are out to prove to us that what happened in Tempe was a fluke, and I believe it was. If they get their signals straight and play physical, I feel we will be looking at a 3-1 record.
What do you guys think? Do the Illini slow down this high power offense enough, or do they get WAC smacked? Let me know with your thoughts and predictions below. Utah State, predicted to finish 2nd in the WAC behind La Tech in some places, gave Wisconsin a scare last week. Let's hope Illinois is ready to go this weekend. It won't be easy.
CRAZY FACT: In Louisiana Tech's 56-49 win over Houston in week two, the Cougars ran a ridiculous 115 plays (77 passes and 38 runs) of offense! Six different Cougar receivers had at least five catches.
CRAZIER FACT: Despite running all of those places, Houston still lost the time of possession battle. The Bulldogs had the ball for 30:31 while the Cougars had it for 29:29.
Talk to you guys after Saturday.
Louisiana Tech QB Colby Cameron is hoping he and his gorgeous head of man hair can lead the Bulldogs to a victory at Memorial Stadium on Saturday...