Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Football: Cincinnati Gameday Preview

Illinois vs. Cincinnati

Saturday, September 1st – at Memorial Stadium; Champaign, Illinois

  • Kickoff – 11:00 a.m. (CST)
  • Television – ESPN2
  • Radio – Fighting Illini Radio Network | Sirius/XM Radio (92/196)
  • Weather – Sunny, 64-86 degrees, 6% precipitation (via accuweather).
  • Odds – Illini are listed as 8-point favorites (via oddsshark).

Quick History

  • 2nd meeting, Bearcats lead series (1-0).
  • The 5th ranked Bearcats took the initial meeting in the series by a 49-36 margin on Nov. 27, 2009.
  • Illinois Director of Athletics Mike Thomas spent six years at the AD at Cincinnati before coming to Illinois in August 2011. Illini defensive coordinator Tim Banks served the same role for the Bearcats in 2010 & ’11 before joining Coach Beckmans staff at Illinois prior to last season.

On what Beckman saw with the running game:

“Well, I think the first thing, Loren, is that we didn’t hit it (the hole) as backs like we should. I think that we’re probably more of a power-type running football team. We were moving the football so well throwing it that it probably took away from a little bit of the running game and what we wanted to do. But you don’t always blame it on the five or six guys up front. There are times that there’s holes there and we need to hit it and take it.” (Source: fightingillini.com)

On game-planning for Cincinnati:

“A good thing is that we do have a coach (defensive coordinator Tim Banks) who was there not too long ago. So he knows some of those players, there’s no question about that. But you’re dealing with a new offense, and you’re dealing with a different offense than when he was there. But again, you’re talking about a program that won 10 football games the last two years and has been a champion the last two years, and has 12 guys back, seven on offense. So you’re talking about an offense and a defense that has been successful and has been built to be successful.” (Source: fightingillini.com)

On the Cincinnati program:

“They’re a good football team. I think Mark Dantonio started it a long, long time ago. And they’ve just continued to build and build and build. That team has won a lot of football games, it’s been very competitive. I’ve seen a lot of them in my career, being in Ohio. They’re a good football team that has been recruited and focused on, and the cupboard isn’t bare.” (Source: fightingillini.com)

Gameday Thoughts

  • The Illinois Fighting Illini had their passing game working in week one against SIU. However, their running game was less than stellar. Donovonn Young and Josh Ferguson will need to get the run game going early in this game against the Bearcats. The Cincinnati defense is better than SIU and the only way to be them will be to use the pass and run game in perfect harmony.
  • In their week one game, Illinois had a HUGE hole in the middle of their defense and let Kory Faulkner throw all over them to get his team back into the game. Illinois might not have the chance to jump out to a big early lead and will need to play tough defense. If Munchie Legaux can throw all over Illinois, it’s going to be a LONG day.

Injury Report

Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

The only player that Illini fans can expect to not see today is OL Tony Durkin. Durkin has an undisclosed injury that will most likely keep him out for the entire season. However, two players that didn’t play against SIU but are probable for today’s game are Eric Finney and Ted Karras. Both players will be huge for the Illini against the Bearcats.

Prediction

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 was better against SIU. The Illinois pass game looked good, but the run game did not. Also, the defense needs to plug the huge hole in the middle of their defense.

Final Score: Illinois 42, Cincinnati 34

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Tags: Cincinnati Bearcats Football Illinois Fighting Illini

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