Big Ten Rivalry Week 9 College Football: Indiana Hoosiers at Illinois Fighting Illini

Scheelhaase and the Fighting Illini will look to win their first Big Ten game of the season this week against the Hoosiers, who are also 0-3 in Big Ten play.
Time: Noon EST, Saturday
Spread: ILL -2.5
Total: 57.5
M/L: ILL -135, IND +115

Odds from Bookmaker

The Hoosiers started out on a good note this year as winners of their first two games over Indiana State and UMass. Since then, however, nothing has gone right. They lost to underdog Ball State, before getting pounded by Northwestern, Mich State, Ohio State and Navy. As losers of their last five, they’ll enter the game a slight underdog this week, too, as college football oddsmakers set the spread 2.5 points in favor of the home team Illinois.

The Hoosiers are going to have to work their aerial attack heavy again. Their pass offense ranks 19th in the nation, with 303.1 yards per game, while they are above average on the ground too, with 161.9 rushing yards per contest. The net effect is an offense that ranks 34th in the nation in scorn with 34.7 points per game.

Offense has not been a problem for Indiana.

The problem has been stopping other pass offenses, like Ball State, who went for 440 total yards, while the Hoosiers amassed 558 and still lost the game. Both Indiana and Ball State are starting to realize that just being able to air out the football isn’t going to result in a big win season. The Hoosiers also have to stop picking up so many penalties. In that aforementioned loss to Ball State, they picks up 127 yards in penalty. Cleaning up the small things would result in a much tougher Hoosier defense.

For all the Hoosiers have going offensively, the Fighting Illini have only the advantage of having a more talented team and being at home. They haven’t played well, which makes it somewhat surprising to see them as favorites according to college football oddsmakers. The Fighting Illini have not been producing much offense, with only 18.1 points per game (114th in the nation), while they rank near the bottom in both pass yardage (186.1) and rushing yardage (123.4). The defense hasn’t even been outstanding to offset the lack of scoring, as the team is giving up 30.7 points per game, including giving up 52 to Louisiana Tech and 45 to both Arizona State and Michigan.

Offensively, the Fighting Illini do have the talented Nathan Scheelhaase at QB. He’s struggled this year, though, and has already been sacked eight times and thrown five interceptions. His completion ratio remains solid, 60.9 percent, but his rating is low due to the other issues—111.4 QB rating.

He hasn’t improved from his freshman and sophomore campaigns by much, but his talent alone is why this Illinois team is favored against a poor defensive team like Indiana. This could be the week that Scheelhaase gets it going again. In the 31-14 loss to Wisconsin, he threw for 178 yards and rushed for 84, while getting one TD passing and one TD rushing.

Scheelhaase received a concussion last week, but ESPN reported three days ago, that he will play this week.


Hoosiers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 in OCT, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 on turf, 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 following an SU loss, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 following bye weeks, 2-6 ATS in their last 8 vs teams with losing records at home.


Fighting Illini, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 after allowing 200+ rushing yards, 7-16 ATS in their last 23 games after accumulating 275 total yards in previous game, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 following an SU loss of 20+, 0-4 ATS in their last 4 conf games, 0-4 ATS in their last 4 on turf.

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