CHAMPAIGN, IL - OCTOBER 15: A.J. Jenkins #8 of the Illinois Fighting Illini is tackled by Andrew Sweat #42 of the Ohio State Buckeyes at Memorial Stadium on October 15, 2011 in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Illinois visits Ross-Ade Stadium this week in hopes of expunging last week's loss to Ohio State from memory. They will face a Purdue squad that has shown life in fits and starts this season.
The Illinois Fighting Illini are still trying to figure what happened last Saturday -- how they could give up just one completion to a struggling Ohio State squad and still lose. Head coach Ron Zook has taken the most flak this week for a couple of bizarre decisions during the game. Down 10 and facing a fourth and 2 within the Ohio State 20-yard line, Zook opted to go for the first down with just over a minute left, despite needing two scores to win or tie. Earlier, he elected to punt from the Ohio State 32, when a bolder call would have made more sense. Illini fans, for obvious reasons, were not amused.
Lucky for them, they face off against a Purdue Boilermakers club that simply isn't very good. Granted, losing by just five points to Penn State isn't necessarily cause to ring the alarm bells. Still, to date that is by far the most impressive thing the Boilermakers have done this season. A loss to Rice sticks out most of all, along with the 28-point gap between them and Notre Dame. Still, there is reason for hope if Purdue can find a way to stretch their few bright moments over 60 minutes. And as Hammer & Nails points out, llinois is nothing if not flawed.
Illinois is not Minnesota or SEMO. They are a ranked team coming in that has played surprisingly good football tot his point. They are, however, flawed. Western Michigan and Northwestern showed that they can be exploited defensively and Ohio State showed their offense can be slowed down. They're coming off of their first loss of the season, and other than the win over Arizona State they haven't beaten a really good team yet.
Saturday's game won't register much on the college football Richter scale this weekend, but it will mean a lot to two programs trying to save face. Purdue for the poor start to the season, Illinois for last week's massive egg.
Game date, time: 12:00 pm ET, Saturday, October 22
Location: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
TV channel: ESPN 2/ESPN 3
Spread: Illinois favored by 6½
Series history: Illinois leads, 42-37
For further reading, news, discussion and more, visit Illinois blog Hail To The Orange and Purdue blog Hammer & Nails. Here’s this week’s college football TV schedule, and stay tuned to SB Nation’s college football news hub for more.