Indiana, Illinois each looks to stay bowl-eligible coming off a big win
Thu, Nov 9, 2023
NCAAF News (AP)
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Indiana (3-6, 1-5 Big Ten) at Illinois (4-5, 2-4), Saturday, 12 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Line: Illinois by 6 1/2 points, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Illinois leads 45-25-3.
WHAT'S AT STAKE?
Bowl eligibility. Even though Indiana and Illinois are each under .500 for the season, playing in a bowl game is still a possibility for both teams. Indiana needs to win its final three games (Illinois, Michigan State and Purdue) and Illinois needs to win two of its last three games (Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern). Each team is coming off an emotional win. Indiana beat Wisconsin for its first Big Ten victory and Illinois rallied behind backup quarterback John Paddock, who replaced an injured Luke Altmyer, in the final minute to defeat Minnesota.
Indiana QB Brendan Sorsby vs. the Illinois defense. Sorsby is on a roll. Over the past three weeks, he's thrown five touchdown passes and run for two scores. He'll be facing an Illinois defense that ranks in the Big Ten's bottom three in scoring defense, total defense, run defense and passing defense.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Indiana: LB Aaron Casey. He can be a game-wrecker. The reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week is fourth in the conference in tackles (78) and he leads with 13 1/2 tackles for loss. Casey had four tackles for loss and two sacks as part of a nine-tackle day vs. Wisconsin.
Illinois: WR Isaiah Williams. The Hoosiers will need to keep an eye on Williams no matter who is playing quarterback. Williams' 59 receptions leads the Big Ten and he's second in the conference in receiving yards with 693. His game-winning 46-yard touchdown catch with 50 seconds left vs. Minnesota capped a day of career bests in catches (13) and receiving yards (131). The 13 receptions were the most by an Illinois receiver in 35 years. Williams has caught a pass in 34 straight games, the longest active streak in the Big Ten, and his 191 career receptions ranks him No. 2 in Illinois history behind only College Football Hall of Famer David Williams (262).
FACTS & FIGURES
Illinois RB Kaden Feagin was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week after gaining 148 yards, including a 54-yard catch and run for a touchdown, vs. Minnesota. His 418 rushing yards for the season is No. 3 in the nation among true freshmen running backs ... Indiana has won four straight games vs. Illinois in a streak that dates to 2012. Two of the four wins were in Champaign, where the Illini are 30-10-1 all-time against the Hoosiers. ... Indiana claims it's 26-45-2 all-time vs. Illinois. The Hoosiers say they were declared the winner of a scoreless game in 1931 because they had more first downs. ... Indiana beat Illinois 23-20 last season in Bloomington on a 1-yard TD run by Shaun Shivers with 23 seconds left. ... Three of Illinois' four victories this season were achieved by a score in the final minute. ... Bret Bielema's 11 Big Ten wins in his first three seasons at Illinois are the most by an Illini coach since Lou Tepper won 13 conference games in his first three seasons (1992-94).
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