Wisconsin Preview: Everyday I'm Russell-in
Illinois's recent string of tough losses isn't about to end anytime soon. Saturday, the Wisconsin Badgers come in to town, ranked #17th in the latest BCS. They sit second in the Leaders Division with a good chance at overtaking Penn State for the lead by the end of the season. So how do the Illini stop the ultra-talented Badger squad? Well it starts with a good offensive gameplan and for it to be excecuted properly. Easier said than done, but if we are kept scoreless in the first half for the 5th consecutive game, we will have no chance at winning. Even if our offense does pitch a perfect game, we still have to stop the extremely talented Russell Wilson. To be realistic, this blogger puts at odds at one in a million.
So there's a chance!!!!
But in all honesty we do have to pitch a perfect game to win this one. Whitney Mercilus and Michael Buchanan will have their hands full with the always tough Wisconsin offensive line. If we can somehow stop Russell, we still have to worry about All Big Ten candidate Montee Ball. And that's a big IF, as Russell is three times the quarterback that Denard Robinson was. Our defense will have to be on their toes and be able to defend the run and pass (often times in the same play). There are just way too many weapons on that team. We're also a man short with Trulon Henry out for season with a gunshot wound to the hand.
Offensively, we just have to execute better than we have in the last 4 weeks. If we played like it was the 4th quarter, we'd be somewhat ok. But we NEED points on the board early and often. If we let Wisconsin get an early lead, they will run run and run it at us, burning clock and our defensive stamina. I would like to see more read options. We've been going away from that in favor of straight hand-offs and I just don't think it's working. In the passing game, we have to give Nathan Scheelhaase some time. Use that heavy pass rush against them and call a screen pass here or there. I don't care how, but we have to get the ball into the hands of AJ Jenkins. He hasn't been as dominant here in Big Ten season as he was earlier and our offensive output shows. Our running backs have to hold on to the ball. We just can't afford to lose the turnover battle in this one.
On special teams I only have one request. CATCH THE PUNT. Fair catch if you want, just secure the ball. Oh God, please. Secure the punt.
68.0 F (20.0 C)
Pressure : 1007.4 mb
Humidity : 81 %
Wind : South at 15.0 MPH (13 KT)
What's on FOX Illinois Full Schedule
The Jeff Probst Show
The Trisha Goddard Show