It is official! We are in the month of August and that can only mean one thing..30 days until the start of the football season. This month, we will go through the schedule game-by-game to try and figure out if the Fighting Illini can improve on their two-win season from a year ago. Our SIU preview is in the books, so it’s on to the Illini’s second non-conference game against the Cincinnati Bearcats.
2012 Record: 10-3 (5-2 in the Big East)
Key Losses: RB George Winn, TE Travis Kelce, DB Camerron Cheatham, DL Walter Stewart
Key Returners: QB Brendon Kay, LB Greg Blair, QB Munchie Leggaux,
Player to Watch: QB Brendon Kay
In a recent interview on gobearcats.com, Cincinnati’s new head coach Tommy Tuberville was asked about the quarterback battle heading into camp for the Bearcats. He made it sound like each QB will get a chance to compete, but all signs are pointing to senior quarterback Brendon Kay being the starting quarterback. Kay started the last five games of the 2012 season after replacing Munchie Legaux and threw for 1,298 yards, ten touchdowns, and two interceptions. If Kay is Tuberville’s starter to begin the season, expect him to play a huge part in the Bearcats’ offense. Last season, Tuberville’s Red Raiders were 2nd overall in passing yards per game (355.9).
Prediction: Cincinnati 28 – Illinois 24
One thing we know about Tommy Tuberville offenses is that they know how to put points up on the scoreboard. Also, Illini fans know that the Fighting Illini didn’t score many points in 2012. Yes, Illinois has a new offense and the scoring should be better. But, we don’t know exactly how the offense is going to look until the start of the season. It is true that the Illinois defense added some good players, and that is why this game will be close. That is why the Bearcats should escape Champaign with a win.
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