Here is Writing Illini’s prediction for tomorrow’s homecoming game with the Indiana Hoosiers.
100 Years of Homecoming
This weekend marks the 100th homecoming in Illinois’ history.
Illinois was the first school to have an official collegiate homecoming, and it is something that the university takes great pride in.
Illinois has held a homecoming event every year since 1910 except for 1918, when a combination of WWI and an outbreak of influenza caused the event to be canceled.
What’s All the Fuss About?
When one thinks of Illinois vs. Indiana, it is almost always basketball that comes to mind.
Indiana is traditionally in the bottom of the Big Ten in football year in and year out, and Illinois has been known to find itself in the basement more often than not.
So why is this game such a big deal?
Simply put, the winner of this game will take a huge step towards a bowl game, while the loser will be knocked virtually out of contention.
Indiana only needs 2 wins to become bowl eligible this year but is not favored in any remaining games. If the Hoosiers lose tomorrow, they will have to somehow beat two more teams, all of which are at or above .500.
Illinois has a bit of an easier road, having already faced the hardest portion of its schedule.
With that said, Illinois still needs three wins to make it to a bowl game. It is never easy to get a win on the road, so the Illini must take care of business at home.
Writing Illini Projection
Illinois will get only its second homecoming win in the Ron Zook Era.
The Hoosiers will strike early behind several big plays from quarterback Ben Chappell. However, Indiana won’t hold on to the lead long.
The Illini will answer back by running over the Hoosier defense for a touchdown of their own, followed by a big defensive stop.
Things will slow down in the second quarter as the Illini continue to pound the ball on the ground and run down the clock.
After a second score gives the Illini the lead, the Hoosiers will take over with less than 2 minutes remaining in the half.
Chappell will once again show his talents as he leads the team down the field to tie the game at 14 at the break.
Illinois will snap out of its third quarter funk in this game, as the Illini take the opening drive down the field for another score.
As the final minutes of the game count down, Illinois gets the ball with a 3-point lead. Just as with Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson earlier in the season, the Hoosier defense will not be able to stop Leshoure as he and Ford keep the ball in the Illini’s hands and run time off the clock.
After an Illinois touchdown puts the Illini up two possessions with the game nearly over, Chappell will try to mount another quick scoring drive.
However, his luck runs out as the Illinois defensive lines gets enough pressure to force a bad throw and interception.
Illinois scores a double-digit win on its 100th homecoming, and the Illini move one step closer to the postseason.
Illinois 38, Indiana 28
Illini Game MVP Prediction
Junior running back Mikel Leshoure
Hoosier Game MVP Prediction
Senior quarterback Ben Chappell
Some Predictions from the Credentialed
→ Bob Asmussen: (News Gazette): Illinois 34, Indiana 21
→ Tom Young: (News Gazette): Illinois 31, Indiana 20
→ Scott Powers (ESPN-Chicago): Illinois 30, Indiana 17
→ Adam Rittenberg (ESPN): Illinois 26, Indiana 20
Tomorrow’s kickoff is set for 11:00 a.m. central time.
The game is on Big Ten Network.
Writing Illini will have its play-by-play blogging and drive updates on its Twitter page.
Topics: A.J. Jenkins, AJ Jenkins, Anthony Santella, Ben Chappell, Big Ten, Big Ten Football, Derek Dimke, Football, Homecoming, Illini, Illinois, Illinois Fighting Illini Football, Illinois Football, Indiana, Indiana Football, Indiana Hoosiers, Martez Wilson, Mikel Leshoure, Nathan Scheelhaase, Ron Zook, Ron Zook Nathan Scheelhaase, University Of Illinois, Writing Illini