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Can Illinois upset the #16 Iowa Hawkeyes on the road?



Illinois Football Staff Has an Elite DB Sell

Illinois travels to Kinnick Stadium to take on the #16 Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday afternoon.

Illinois (5-5, 3-4) looks to punch its ticket to the postseason Saturday afternoon against the 16th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes (8-2, 5-2). The Illini are coming off a win against Indiana 48-45. The Hawkeyes shut out Rutgers 22-0 last weekend. Although Illinois has a slim lead in the overall series (39-37-2), the Hawkeyes have dominated the series in the last two decades. The Illini have defeated Iowa just twice in the last 20 years. Last season at Memorial Stadium, 9-6, was one of those two wins. Both teams had offensive explosions — relatively speaking — last weekend. Iowa had 420 total yards and averaged 5.2 yards per play in their win against Rutgers.

Illinois had season highs in total yards (662), yards per play (9.3), and points (48) in its overtime victory against IU. Backup quarterback John Paddock threw for 507 yards, and Reggie Love ran for 140 yards.

Analyzing the Odds

Odds: Illinois + 3.5/ Iowa -3.5

Team Total: o/u 30.5

Money Line: Illinois +134/ Iowa -160

The Illini are 1-4 in their last five games against the spread. They are 2-2 in their previous four road games against the spread. Team totals have gone over in three of its last five games.

Keys to Victory:

Will Paddock start on Saturday? It’s hard to deny how crisp and aggressive the offense looked with the Ball State transfer in the game. Brett Bielema and Barry Lunney are likely going to be the only two people who know whether or not Paddock is going to start this weekend. However, Paddock had all day to throw against Indiana. He won’t have that luxury against Iowa. Would Altmyer’s legs be an asset against the Hawkeyes?

Two numbers from last week’s game are concerning. The first is 451. That’s the number of yards the Illini allowed against Indiana last week. That was 150 yards over their season average. The Hoosiers also scored 23  points more than their season average. The Hawkeyes had their season high in yards against Rutgers. Illinois has to patch the leaks in their defense because Iowa’s defense isn’t going to give up much.

The next concerning number is 14. That’s the number of penalties the Illini had against Indiana. Illinois has to stay ahead of the sticks and not assist the Hawkeyes in extending drives. Penalties do both. The Orange and Blue have to play a clean game.

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Armchair Illini is a comprehensive site dedicated to covering University of Illinois Athletics owned and operated by Alex Kyi. Dante Pryor has been writing about College Football for years on Saturday Blitz and is now the Lead Football Author for Armchair Illini.