Let conference play begin. The Hoosiers are three games short of a bowl, but few people are thinking about that now. The more important thing is IU is 3-0 and faces a very winnable game at noon tomorrow in Bloomington. The game is on Big Ten Network, so get to your local satellite-enabled television.
Looking at its two games against BCS teams (Missouri and Syracuse) Illinois seems susceptible to the pass. During it's opening weekend loss to the Tigers, Mizzou QB Chase Daniel threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns. And Syracuse QB Andrew Robinson threw for 208 yards in a 41-20 Illini victory. Of the 286 yards, Syracuse gave up, 223 came through the air. That means IU QB Kellen Lewis and receiver James Hardy should have some room to throw and catch the ball.
Illinois has been successful running the ball. Against Missouri, then rolled up 119 yards and against Syracuse they amassed 378 yards and four touchdowns. Most of IU's defensive problems have come through the air, but some of that has to do with IU running out to big leads early. And IU took over last week's game against Akron in the second half, forcing the Zips to throw.
Illinois QB Juice Williams has a 109.1 passer rating so far this year, with 279 yards and one TD. He also has rushed for 117 yards in three games. Lewis, by comparison, has a 151.4 rating, with 643 yards and nine TDs.
The Hoosiers have home-field advantage and the line is close. I think they take this game.