Well, the Illini pulled off the victory last weekend against Western Illinois. But they weren't exactly convincing, were they? I mean, sure, they won the game. And the defense looked good. But they struggled SO mightily in the passing department, that it left you to wonder-- Will they win 6 games this year and go to a bowl after all?
This weekend's battle against Syracuse in the Carrier Dome is the perfect test for this young Illini team. They're facing another program that has been struggling in recent years. Yep, that's right, on paper the Illini look like they should win this game.
What should you be looking for as you watch the game on ESPNU? Here goes the list:
1. The Illini NOT to suffer from cramps during this dome game, like they did in St. Louis against Mizzou. Zook claims that the Illini staff figured out why the Illini were suffering from those cramps, and claims to have a remedy in place. What exactly was the problem in St. Louis, Ron? If it was "drink more water", we could have told you that one before the season started!
2. Will J Leman keep up the tackling pace (15+ per game so far) that has him in the running for the Butkus award?
3. Don't look for Aurrelious Benn to pull a Keyshawn Johnson and start hollering for Juice to "Just throw me the @#%$# ball!".....at least not yet. Benn has been getting about 7 or so touches per game in the first two of the season. The Illini coaches would like for him to get 10+. Illini fans? They'd like for him to get about 30!
4. Illinois to sadly, lose in a close one at the Carrier Dome. Don't be fooled by Syracuse's 0-2 record-- they played two really good teams in Iowa and Washington. I'm predicting a 24-10 loss tomorrow......with the Illini once again struggling mightily in the passing game. Honestly.....I really hope I'm wrong here. But this team still has a lot to prove.
Can't wait for the game!