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    Tough Spot for Illinois

    Updated: December 1st, 2010
  • CollegeFootballBreakdown.com
    Game Preview
    Fresno State vs Illinois

    Illinois became bowl eligible with its win over Northwestern at Wrigley Field two weeks ago. Now, after a week off, the team travels to a small venue in the valley to play the Fresno State Bulldogs. The WAC Bulldogs are 7-4 on the season and come off a close win at home vs Idaho who lost the previous week to Boise State 56-0. Will Illinois be focused for this one? Can Fresno match the athleticism of Illinois?

    When Illinois has the ball:
    Illinois’ offense has improved steadily throughout the year. Freshman sensation QB Scheelhaase has gotten better each week with his decision making under Petrino’s offense. His passing has improved as his ability to read defenses has increased. The Illinois offensive line has provided holes for RB Leshoure for most of the year except for a few games against the elite of the Big Ten. Fresno’s defense would not be in this elite category and does not possess the size and athleticism across their defensive front to stymie the Illinois rushing attack. Mikel Leshoure comes off the biggest rushing day of the year for any running back all season, 330 yards. He will be looking to add to his season totals when facing the Bulldogs who give up 4.14 yards per carry against WAC competition. Expect Illinois to run with success helping to set up some big play action passes by Scheelhaase.
    Edge Illinois
    When Fresno State has the ball:
    First we must talk about the energy level and focus of the Illinois defense. All Big TEn honors are out, Illinois is in a bowl, and the tired defense can now rest. But wait, there is another game to play out west against a small venue. Although Corey Liuget and the defensive line of Illinois are great at getting penetration and keeping their linebackers clean from blocks, if a defense doesn’t come prepared, they will be exposed. Fresno brings a balance attack but unfortunately, they will most likely be without their starting RB Rouse. Illinois’ defense scheme can cause trouble for opponents. But if they don’t come focused, you might see some Illinois defensive players out of position leading to big plays. Pat Hill loves to have his team prepared vs the big name teams and I think they will be prepared for this one.
    Edge Fresno State

    Special Teams:
    Illinois’ special teams has been fantastic all year in every aspect. They have the edge verse almost anyone they play.
    Edge Illinois

  • JJBeatz


    John "JJBeatz" Jacobson is a handicapping analyst who covers the Big Ten, Sun Belt, MAC, Big East, Big 12 and Conference USA for www.collegefootballbreakdown.com. His nickname, "JJBeatz" was given to him by colleagues on Wall Street for his ability to make them money betting college football. JJBeatz is short for JJ beats the spread.

    John's passion for the sport of college football began when he played his first parlay card in elementary school. His fascination with making informative predictions allowed for a smooth transition into equity analysis and trading on Wall Street. As John often says, "Similar skills, such as money management, an analytical mind, hard work, an attention to detail, and perseverance, are needed in both trading and sports betting." JJ continues to work on his craft and loves to make people money.

    E-mail JJBeatz: jjbeatz@collegefootballbreakdown.com.

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