In the season opener for Illinois football last weekend, there’s no question that the Illini defense looked much more improved compared to last season.
They held the Youngstown State offense to just 17 total points (three FGs and one TD), but the offense that they will be facing in Week 2 is coming off of a 59 point performance in Week 1.
Western Kentucky, a first-year C-USA team, started their season with a 59-31 victory over Bowling Green last week.
The Illini will need to be just as strong defensively this week in order to win this game.
The Hilltoppers offense, unlike the Illini, returned their starting quarterback for the 2014 season.
Senior Brandon Doughty had himself a record breaking game against Bowling Green, where he threw for 569 yards and a total of six touchdowns on 25 completions.
However, Doughty wasn’t the only one breaking records in Week 1. Western Kentucky even broke a FBS record for total points with 59 points in their Week 1 game.
The main target for Brandon Doughty in Week 1 was sophomore wide receiver Taywan Taylor. Taylor caught twelve of Doughty’s 25 passes for a total of 185 yards and one touchdown.
The Illinois defensive line will also have a tough foe ahead of them in the form of WKU running back Leon Allen.
On top of Doughty’s 569 passing yards, Allen ran for 93 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries. However, he only averaged 3.3 yards per carry in the game.
The most important part of the Illini defense this week will definitely be the secondary.
Doughty is coming into this week’s game with a ton of confidence, and that might not bode well for the Illini in this game.
The Illini defense kept their team in the game last week, and they might not be able to save the offense if they start off slow for a second straight week.
Bottom line, the Illini defense will need help from the offense if the team wants any chance of beating Western Kentucky this weekend.
If the offense has another slow start, the defense might not be able to hold off Brandon Doughty for long, which could make this game an ugly one for the Illini Nation.
Prediction: Defense holds off WKU offense FTW (for the win).
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