Week 6 football preview
October, 7, 2011
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com
No. 19 Illinois (5-0) at Indiana (1-4)
When, where: 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WIND-560 AM
What you need to know: Illinois hits the road for the first time this season. The Illini took care of business five consecutive weeks at home and have been rewarded with a top-20 ranking. It hasn’t been easy for Illinois, which won each of its past three games by three points. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and wide receiver A.J. Jenkins are coming off career days. Indiana has four losses, but has been in every game this season. The Hoosiers haven’t lost by more than seven points to any of their opponents. They fell 16-10 to Penn State last week. Former Maine South running back Matt Perez has four touchdowns this season for Indiana.
Scott Powers’ prediction: Illinois 27, Indiana 21
No. 12 Michigan (5-0) at Northwestern (2-2)
When, where: 6 p.m. Saturday at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: ESPN 1000
What you need to know: Northwestern let one get away last weekend after surrendering a 28-10 lead to Illinois. The Wildcats can bounce back in a big way if they can find a way to knock off undefeated Michigan and its star quarterback Denard Robinson on Saturday. The Wolverines defeated Minnesota 58-0 last week. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa will be back in the shotgun this week. He felt some discomfort in his right foot against Illinois and sat out the last couple of drives. The Wildcats will be without running back Mike Trumpy for the rest of the year. The Wildcats’ defense will be the key this week.
Powers’ prediction: Michigan 37, Northwestern 31
Air Force (3-1) at Notre Dame (3-2)
When, where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind.
Radio: WLS-890 AM
What you need to know: Notre Dame is riding a three-game winning streak after dropping its first two. The Irish have dominated the Air Force series in recent years, but the Falcons aren’t to be overlooked this season. Their offense has scored 35 or more points in all three of their wins, and Air Force’s only loss was a 35-19 one to TCU. In last week’s 35-34 win over Navy, Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson threw for a touchdown and rushed for two more. Notre Dame’s defense has been sharp in the last three wins, never allowing more than 13 points, and this should be another test for it.
Powers’ prediction: Notre Dame 38, Air Force 24
Kent State (1-4) at Northern Illinois (2-3)
When, where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill.
Radio: WSCR-670 AM
What you need to know: Northern Illinois is running out of losses if it wants to compete for the MAC championship and get to another bowl game. The Huskies dropped a disappointing one last week to Central Michigan. Northern Illinois’ offense continued to look impressive, putting up 41 points, but the defense failed again. The Huskies allowed Central Michigan 48 points and dropped to 0-1 in conference. Northern Illinois’ defense is going to have to come around if the team has a shot at doing anything this season. There are plenty of better teams than Central Michigan in the MAC.
Powers’ prediction: Northern Illinois 45, Kent State 31
Illinois State (2-3) at Missouri State (0-5)
When, where: 2 p.m. Saturday at Plaster Field in Springfield, Mo.
What you need to know: Illinois State has been up and down all season. It dropped back down with last week’s 20-10 loss to North Dakota State. Illinois State threw two interceptions deep in North Dakota State’s territory that proved to be costly. Matt Brown was 31-for-48 for 273 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in the loss. Illinois State should be able to bounce back up this week against Missouri State, which is winless and coming off a 42-7 loss to Northern Iowa.
Powers’ prediction: Illinois State 27, Missouri State 17
Eastern Kentucky (1-3) at Eastern Illinois (1-4)
When, where: 1:30 p.m. Saturday at O’Brien Field in Charleston, Ill.
What you need to know: Eastern Illinois coach Bob Spoo’s final season looked so promising early, but has quickly turned on the Panthers. They dropped their fourth game of the season last week with a 37-30 loss to Southeast Missouri. Eastern Illinois’ defense will have to step up for the Panthers to get back on the winning track. They’ve allowed 28 or more points the last four weeks. Eastern Kentucky has a losing record, but has been in all of its games.
Powers’ prediction: Eastern Illinois 27, Eastern Kentucky 24
North Dakota State (4-0) at Southern Illinois (2-2)
When, where: 2 p.m. Saturday at Saluki Stadium in Carbondale, Ill.
What you need to know: Southern Illinois suffered one of its toughest losses in some time last week when it fell 27-21 to Western Illinois. The Salukis had owned a nine-game winning streak over Western Illinois. There may be some pressure put on Southern Illinois coach Dale Lennon soon. This week doesn’t get much easier for the Salukis. North Dakota State is undefeated and is ranked No. 4 in the FCS. Kory Faulkner will replace Paul McIntosh as Southern Illinois’ starting quarterback this week.
Powers’ prediction: North Dakota State 31, Southern Illinois 24
TOP 25 SCOREBOARD
Final 20 Duke 7 1 Florida State 45 Final 2 Ohio State 24 10 Michigan State 34 Final 5 Missouri 42 3 Auburn 59 Final 17 Oklahoma 33 6 Oklahoma State 24 Final 7 Stanford 38 11 Arizona State 14 Final 25 Texas 10 9 Baylor 30 Final 16 UCF 17 Southern Methodist 13 Final Utah State 17 23 Fresno State 24