- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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Eastern Illinois (1-0) at Northwestern (1-0)
When, where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: ESPN 1000
Web: NUSports.com, EIUPanthers.com
What you need to know: Northwestern played without quarterback Dan Persa last week and was able to pull out a 24-17 victory over Boston College. It’s likely sophomore Kain Colter will replace Persa again this week. Colter showed off his athleticism and improved passing ability in the victory. He finished stronger than he started last week. The defense bent at times against Boston College, but didn’t break. The Wildcats should have an easier time with Eastern Illinois. The Panthers have some momentum coming off last week’s win over Illinois State. Sophomore quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw for three touchdowns last week. This is the first time Eastern Illinois coach Bob Spoo will coach in the Chicago area since his high school coaching days.
Scott Powers’ prediction: Northwestern 48, Eastern Illinois 21
South Dakota State (1-0) at Illinois (1-0)
When, where: 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WIND-560 AM
What you need to know: Illinois didn’t pounce on Arkansas State as quickly as it hoped to in the season opener. The Illini only led 17-8 at halftime before pulling away 33-15. They’ll look for a better start against South Dakota State. The positives to take from last week’s win were a career-best 267 passing from quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and 100-yard receiving performances by A.J. Jenkins and Darius Millines. South Dakota State pulled out a 29-28 win over Southern Utah last week. This is the second of five consecutive home games for Illinois.
Powers’ prediction: Illinois 52, South Dakota Sate 13
Northern Illinois (1-0) at Kansas (1-0)
When, where: 6 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan.
TV: Fox College Sports
Radio: WIND-560 AM
What you need to know: Northern Illinois had the most impressive showing of the in-state teams last week. The Huskies burst out of the gate against Army and built a 35-6 lead at halftime on the way to a 49-26 victory. Quarterback Chandler Harnish had his usual type of performance, completing 12-of-19 passes for 195 yards and five touchdowns. Running back Jasmin Hopkins also rushed for 138 yards. Kansas should present more of a fight. Kansas had a rocky first season under coach Turner Gil and went 3-9. The Jayhawks looked improved in their season-opening 42-24 win over McNeese State. Kansas did most of its damage by ground, rushing for 301 yards. Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren was a former assistant at Kansas.
Powers’ prediction: Northern Illinois 38, Kansas 24
Southern Illinois (1-0) at Ole Miss (0-1)
When, where: 5 p.m. Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss.
What you need to know: If Southern Illinois could find a little magic on Saturday, the Salukis could have a chance at an upset. Ole Miss isn’t in great shape. The Rebels are coming off a 14-13 loss to BYU, a game they led 13-0. They changed quarterbacks midway through that game and will be going with last week’s backup Zack Stoudt as this week’s starter. To add to the offensive woes, running back Brandon Bolden is out with an injury, and two other running backs got banged up in the loss to BYU. Despite all that, Southern Illinois will still have to deal with Ole Miss’ defense. Salukis quarterback Paul McIntosh completed 14-of-18 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown in last week’s 38-10 win over Southeast Missouri.
Powers’ prediction: Ole Miss 34, Southern Illinois 17
Morehead State (1-0) at Illinois State (0-1)
When, where: 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Hancock Stadium in Normal, Ill.
What you need to know: Illinois State hung right with Eastern Illinois in last week’s offensive shootout until late. Redbirds quarterback Matt Brown was precise most of the day until throwing two late interceptions, which secured his team’s fate. Illinois State’s defense struggled to stop the pass last week, allowing 304 yards through the air. It faces another tough task this week in Morehead State. The Eagles are coming off a 67-0 win over Kentucky Christian during which they compiled 753 yards of total offense and 474 passing yards. Kentucky Christian went 0-11 last season.
Powers’ prediction: Illinois State 34, Morehead State 28
Jacksonville (0-1) at Western Illinois (0-1)
When, where: 3 p.m. Saturday at Hanson Field in Macomb, Ill.
What you need to know: Wil Lunt was named Western Illinois’ starting quarterback for Week 1, but he was replaced midway through of the game by Josh Hudson after struggling against Sam Houston State. Hudson finished 7-of-12 passing for 136 yards and a touchdown. Lunt was 4 of 11 for 43 yards and an interception. Both are expected to see time again this week against Jacksonville. The offense will have to pick it up for the Leathernecks to have a chance. They compiled only 124 yards last week, and 92 of those came in one swoop during the fourth quarter. Jacksonville had its own offensive struggles in its 31-9 loss to The Citadel last week. Jacksonville’s running game rushed for negative 22 yards on 25 carries.
Powers’ prediction: Western Illinois 20, Jacksonville 14