HQ football prediction: UI 52, Indiana 49
2 Nathan Scheelhaase 6-3 205 Sr. Kansas City, Mo.
7 Nate Sudfeld 6-5 232 Soph. Modesto, Calif.
Edge: Illinois. Scheelhaase is on pace to have the best single-season passing numbers of his career at Illinois. And he is running more recently, giving defenses another option to consider. Sudfeld should split time with Tre Roberson, but Scheelhaase is coming off a solid game at Penn State. Indiana’s two quarterbacks were a bit inconsistent against Minnesota.
6 Josh Ferguson 5-10 195 Soph. Naperville
6 Tevin Coleman 6-1 204 Soph. Tinley Park
Edge: Indiana. Coleman should surpass 1,000 career yards Saturday. He has a great burst once he receives the ball and should like his chances of possibly having his first career 200-yard rushing game against Illinois. Three backs already have eclipsed that total this year. Coleman could become the fourth.
9 Steve Hull 6-2 200 Sr. Cincinnati
8 Miles Osei 6-0 195 Sr. Mount Prospect
80 Spencer Harris 6-3 205 Sr. Greenwood, Ark.
1 Shane Wynn 5-7 168 Jr. Cleveland
3 Cody Latimer 6-3 215 Jr. Dayton, Ohio
13 Kofi Hughes 6-2 216 Sr. Indianapolis
Edge: Indiana. Hull, Osei and Harris all had productive games against Penn State. Outside of Hull, though, Illinois doesn’t have that game-breaking wideout like Indiana does. Wynn, Latimer and Hughes have combined for 18 receiving touchdowns this year. Enough said.
3 Jon Davis 6-3 240 Jr. Louisville, Ky.
83 Ted Bolser 6-6 247 Sr. Cincinnati
Edge: Illinois. Bolser is a bona fide receiving target (279 yards on 28 catches, five TDs). Davis gives Illinois a chance for multiple looks, and Matt LaCosse could split out wide or line up with his hand on the ground. Illinois needs more from Evan Wilson, who hasn’t caught a pass in Big Ten play.
68 Simon Cvijanovic 6-5 310 Jr. Cleveland
74 Michael Heitz 6-5 305 Jr. Vermont
52 Alex Hill 6-3 315 Jr. Slidell, La.
69 Ted Karras 6-4 300 Soph. Indianapolis
70 Corey Lewis 6-6 315 Sr. Cresco, Pa.
78 Jason Spriggs 6-7 294 Soph. Elkhart, Ind.
73 Bernard Taylor 6-2 297 Jr. Detroit
64 Collin Rahrig 6-2 285 Jr. South Bend, Ind.
70 Jacob Bailey 6-5 301 Fr. Carmel, Ind.
62 Ralston Evans 6-4 287 Soph. Indianapolis
Edge: Indiana. Hoosiers have given up 11 sacks, tied for fourth in the Big Ten. Illinois has surrendered 19, tied for eighth best with Michigan. Costly penalties against the Illinois offensive line the last two games haven’t helped matters for a unit that is playing significantly better than last year, though.
59 Tim Kynard 6-3 270 Sr. Toledo, Ohio
93 Teko Powell 6-3 295 Soph. Miami
44 Austin Teitsma 6-2 290 Jr. Glen Ellyn
55 Houston Bates 6-3 250 Jr. Covington, La.
25 Ryan Phillis 6-3 261 Jr. Boardman, Ohio
95 Bobby Richardson 6-3 279 Jr. Tampa, Fla.
93 Ralphael Green 6-5 315 Fr. San Antonio
56 Nick Mangieri 6-5 262 Soph. Peoria
Edge: Indiana. The emergence of Powell the last two games gives Illinois an athletic, disruptive player who wasn’t there previously. Indiana’s best pass rusher, defensive end John Laihinen (4.5 sacks) doesn’t start, but he’ll likely see the field for numerous plays.
45 Jonathan Brown 6-1 230 Sr. Memphis, Tenn.
43 Mason Monheim 6-1 235 Soph. Orrville, Ohio
34 Mike Svetina 6-2 230 Soph. Brunswick, Ohio
42 David Cooper 6-1 233 Jr. Lilburn, Ga.
2 T.J. Simmons 6-0 229 Fr. Lakeland, Fla.
4 Forisse Hardin 6-1 219 Jr. Louisville, Ky.
Edge: Illinois. Brown’s three sacks lead Illinois, and his 10.1 tackles per game lead all Big Ten defenders. Monheim and Svetina each had solid games against Penn State. Indiana’s unit is short on experience and doesn’t have a difference-maker like Brown, although Hardin has forced three fumbles this year.
2 V’Angelo Bentley 5-10 190 Soph. Cleveland
9 Earnest Thomas 6-2 210 Jr. Orchard Lake, Mich.
21 Zane Petty 6-1 190 Jr. Corning, Calif.
27 Eaton Spence 6-0 185 Soph. Belle Glade, Fla.
24 Tim Bennett 5-9 184 Jr. Columbus, Ga.
37 Mark Murphy 6-2 210 Jr. Akron, Ohio
9 Greg Heban 6-1 200 Sr. Muncie, Ind.
17 Michael Hunter 6-1 187 Soph. Monroe, La.
Edge: Indiana. If Bentley can’t go, look for Darius Mosely to start for the third consecutive game. Thomas and Petty are coming off strong games at Penn State, but the interceptions haven’t materialized for Illinois. Indiana only has five, which isn’t much, but four more than Illinois, and Heban is a player Illinois will have to be wary of.
17 Taylor Zalewski (K, KO) 6-3 220 Soph. Orland Park
18 Justin DuVernois (P) 6-1 190 Jr. Plantation, Fla.
54 Zach Hirth (LS) 6-4 220 Fr. Eureka, Mo.
86 Tim Russell (Holder) 6-6 235 Sr. St. Charles
2 V’Angelo Bentley (KR, PR) 5-10 190 Soph. Cleveland
8 Miles Osei (KR, PR) 6-0 200 Sr. Mount Prospect
16 Mitch Ewald (K, KO) 5-10 176 Sr. Naperville
36 Eric Toth (P, Holder) 6-3 206 Soph. Indianapolis
91 Matt Dooley (LS) 6-4 252 Jr. Phoenix
12 Stephen Houston (KR) 6-0 230 Sr. Little Rock, Ark.
1 Shane Wynn (PR) 5-7 168 Jr. Cleveland
Edge: Indiana. Zalewski has quietly put together a solid season. DuVernois usually has one forgettable punt a game. If Bentley is back, the edge might go to the Illini. But Ewald is the most prolific field goal kicker in school history, and Wynn has the potential to take every kick back for a touchdown.
Tim Beckman At UI (5-15) Overall (26-31)
Kevin Wilson At Indiana (8-24) Overall (8-24)
Edge: Indiana. The tenures of both coaches might not be long at their current schools if the losing continues. Wilson likely will wind up with another losing record because Ohio State and Wisconsin are still on the Hoosiers’ schedule. But the high-octane offense he brought to Bloomington, Ind., from his stay at Oklahoma is keeping games close into the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Illinois 52, Indiana 49
Beckman made like Joe Namath after the Penn State loss and proclaimed Illinois will get a Big Ten win this year. What the heck. We’ll have what Beckman’s having this week. That’s right. Illinois ends its 18-game conference losing streak, getting its first win since Sept. 28 against Miami, Ohio (right). A balanced offensive approach works well for Illinois, which enjoys the bus ride back to Champaign. (N-G record: 7-1)