Illinois vs. Purdue: Football Field Forecast & Belated Cram Session

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Did you know that the Illinois Fighting Illini have failed to beat Purdue during the Ron Zook era?

Here is Writing Illini’s prediction for tomorrow afternoon’s Purdue-Illinois football game.

A day late and a dollar short, the PU-UI Thursday Cram Session has been included on page two.

Boiler Down?

After suffering an injury to his throwing hand last week against the Ohio State Buckeyes, Purdue freshman quarterback Rob Henry is questionable for this weekend’s  game against the Illinois Fighting Illini.

Henry is already a third string quarterback.

Purdue starting quarterback Rob Marve is out for the season with a torn ACL and backup quarterback Caleb TerBush is academically ineligible.

If Henry does not play, the Boilermakers will turn to fourth-stringer Sean Robinson to lead the offense.

Either way, the Illini should find success on defense if they can pressure the quarterback the way they did against Indiana.

Red Zone On Lock Down

In 2010, the Illini have been excellent on both sides of the ball in the red zone.

In 25 trips into the red zone by Illini opponents, Illinois has allowed only eight touchdowns. The Illini have held opponents to a touchdown percentage of 32 percent in the red zone, a stat which ranks third nationally in red zone touchdown percentage defense, behind only Alabama (30.4 percent) and West Virginia (30.8 percent).

Illinois also ranks third in the nation in red zone scoring percentage.

The Illini have scored points on 22 of their 23 trips inside the 20 this season (96 percent).

Writing Illini Prediction

Illinois will defeat Purdue at home tomorrow, officially giving Zook a victory against every Big Ten team and ending the Illini’s longest losing streak against a conference foe at the same time.

Illinois will start out with a strong drive, moving into the red zone before settling for a field goal.

The game will slow down as both defenses step up in the first half.

Purdue’s tough defensive line will hassle Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase all game, and running back Mikel Leshoure will have a hard time gaining yards.

Illinois’ defense will carry its momentum from the Indiana win and continue to pressure whoever is playing quarterback for Purdue while the secondary will shut down the Boilermaker receivers.

Both teams will score a touchdown in the second quarter, bringing the game to 10-7 at the half.

Purdue will come out of the half strong, but a huge goal-line stand by the Illini defense will hold the Boilermakers to a field goal.

Illinois will score another touchdown on a trick play that goes for big yardage, and the Illini will lead by four going into the last quarter.

A late Illinois interception will seal the game as the secondary again comes up big.

Illinois will score a touchdown to put the game away and end up with another double digit victory.

Final Score

Illinois 24, Purdue 13

Illini Game MVP Prediction

Senior linebacker Martez Wilson

Purdue Game MVP Prediction

Senior defensive end Ryan Kerrigan

Some Predictions from the Credentialed

Local Media

Bob Asmussen: (News Gazette): Illinois 34, Purdue 20

Tom Young: (News Gazette): Illinois 27, Purdue 17

National Media

Adam Rittenberg (ESPN): Illinois 30, Purdue 13


Tomorrow’s kickoff is set for 11:00 a.m. central time.

The game is on Big Ten Network.

Writing Illini will feature play-by-play blogging and drive updates on its Twitter page.

Until then.

For the Thursday Cram Session, see page two.

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