Rutgers at Illinois
When and Where: Saturday, Nov. 2, Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Ill., 3:30 p.m. EDT.
Illinois' bid for its first bowl game in five years hits a crucial juncture Saturday when it hosts Big Ten rival Rutgers.
Scarlet Knights seek back-to-back wins for the first time since 2017Rutgers (2-6, 0-5 Big Ten East) is looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since defeating Illinois and Purdue on Oct. 14 and 21, 2017, following a 44-34 victory over Liberty last Saturday.
Quarterback Johnny Langan accounted for 310 total yards and three touchdowns while Isaih Pacheco added 107 rushing yards and two scores as the Scarlet Knights rolled up 463 yards -- their second-highest total of the season and nearly matching the amount of their previous three games combined (578).
Freshman quarterback Johnny Langan was almost ineligible to play in 2019, and started the season as Rutgers' third-string quarterback.— Jackson Thompson (@Jacksonbht) October 29, 2019
In week 9, he is the reigning Big Ten Freshman of The Week after a three-touchdown performance, a surprise even to himself. pic.twitter.com/s2n4oGDJrY
A redshirt freshman, Langan threw for a season-best 192 yards and recorded his first two collegiate touchdown passes in addition to his first 100-yard rushing game, which was also the first by a Rutgers quarterback since Sam Mudie in 1961.
The challenge for interim coach is to carry last week's offensive effort into this contest. Rutgers has the fifth-worst scoring offense in the country at 15.3 points per game and is 126th of 130 teams in total offense at 281.5 yards per game.
Pacheco, who became the feature back after Raheem Blackshear opted to redshirt four games into the season, has team bests of 541 yards and six TDs.
Ilini look to take step closer to bowl elgibilityWinning streaks also have been few and far in between for Illinois (4-4, 2-3 West), which has not won three straight games since opening the 2011 season 6-0. The Illini had no letdown after their stunning upset of previously unbeaten Wisconsin, stifling Purdue 24-6 on the road last Saturday in soaking conditions.
Dre Brown rushed for 131 yards, and the Illini defense contributed a pick-six from Tony Adams as Illinois came 5:49 shy of a shutout. Lovie Smith's team limited the Boilermakers to 271 yards and 5 of 18 on third downs, and Adams' interception was his second in as many games.
💥Tony Adams Pick-6 pic.twitter.com/DTiVC8ySfJ— IllinoisLoyalty🤨 (@IllinoisLoyalty) October 26, 2019
Illinois leads the nation in fumble recoveries with 13 and is tied for second with 19 takeaways.
“We know what kind of team we are," safety Sydney Brown told the Kokomo Perspective. "We know what kind of team we can be. Hearing it from Lovie, it’s just comforting.
"Where we’re really picking it up is just our intrinsic motivation within the team and us finding the motivation within ourselves to put it out on the field. These past couple games has really helped us develop."
Rutgers can expect to see a heavy dose of Brown and Illini leading running back Reggie Corbin, who was held to 47 yards by Purdue but still leads the team with 526. Brandon Peters threw just six times versus the Boilermakers -- partially due to the weather -- but Illinois is 116th in the country with 168.1 yards per game.
- 0-5 ATS in its last five games vs. Big Ten teams.
- 1-5 ATS in its last six games after accumulating 450 or more yards in its previous contest.
- 2-7 ATS in its last nine road games.
- 5-0 ATS in its last five home games vs. teams with sub-.500 road records.
- 5-1 ATS in its last six games vs. Big Ten teams.
- The favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.