Chicago Colleges: Western Illinois Leathernecks

Big Ten viewer’s guide: Week 7

October, 10, 2014
Oct 10
10:00
AM CT
Week 7 is here, and let’s not sugarcoat it: Big Ten football has looked more interesting on other weekends. This first Saturday of the season without nonconference action lacks marquee matchups. Still, the division races will continue to take shape.

Here’s a look at the five games (all times Eastern):

Noon

Illinois (3-3) and Wisconsin (3-2), ESPN2: Will Melvin Gordon run for 300 yards? If the Badgers wanted it to happen, Illinois’ 119th-ranked rushing defense would likely comply. More of the intrigue in Madison involves the quarterbacks. For Wisconsin, Joel Stave, who returned last week against Northwestern, will see time, in addition to Tanner McEvoy, who might also take a shot at receiver. And with Illinois’ Wes Lunt out with a fractured leg, senior Reilly O’Toole and sophomore Aaron Bailey, who was set to redshirt, have competed in practice this week.

Indiana (3-2) and Iowa (4-1), ESPNU: Indiana has shown it can win on the road in tough spots, handing Missouri its lone loss on Sept. 20. The Hoosiers are more explosive on offense than any foe Iowa has faced. But Indiana still can’t defend well, in particular against proficient quarterbacks. The Hawkeyes are going back to Jake Rudock at the start, but C.J. Beathard will play. How well can Greg Davis manage this? If it’s a disaster, Indiana might just find itself in the right place at the right time for an upset bid.

[+] EnlargeDavid Cobb
Leon Halip/Getty ImagesDavid Cobb and Minnesota can take a big step in their quest for a Western Division crown by beating Northwestern on Saturday.
Northwestern (3-2) at Minnesota (4-1), BTN: Who would have guessed a month ago, as the Golden Gophers fell flat at TCU and the Wildcats sat winless, that this game would have legitimate implications for the West Division title race? It does, with NU in quest of a third straight unexpected win to open league play. Its defense led the charge against Penn State and Wisconsin. Minnesota is simply solid, led by David Cobb, statistically the league’s most valuable offensive player. Minnesota has defended the pass especially well in recent games and will test Northwestern’s Trevor Siemian, 13th in the Big Ten in QBR.

3:30 p.m.

No. 8 Michigan State (4-1) at Purdue (3-3), ESPN2: At least it’s not the best team in the Big Ten against the worst. Purdue escaped the low spot last week with a win over Illinois. And sophomore quarterback Austin Appleby looked good in the victory. Very good, in fact. Back at home, he figures to find a much more difficult situation against the Spartans, who might come in a bit angry after nearly blowing a 24-point, fourth-quarter lead against Nebraska.

7 p.m.

Penn State (4-1) at Michigan (2-4), ESPN2: The visitors from Happy Valley, after an off week, get an opportunity to show that their anemic performance against Northwestern was just a fluke. With an upcoming stretch of three challenging games, no better time exists for PSU to get healthy than at Michigan, trying to avoid its first 0-3 start in the Big Ten since 1965. Against a good Penn State front, the Wolverines must protect Devin Gardner and throw the football, neither of which they’ve done well in recent weeks.

Required reading

BU's Simms-Edwards going on defensive

January, 10, 2013
1/10/13
9:57
PM CT
Bradley senior Dyricus Simms-Edwards got a good taste of basketball thievery at the start of the season and he’s been obsessed with it ever since.

“Even in a game, I get mad if I juggle the ball and don’t get a steal,” Simms-Edwards said.

Simms-Edwards has had plenty of games with two, three, four or five steals this year. He’s even had one of eight steals. Yet, none of them fill his craving.

“I just want to repeat it,” he said. “I just want to do it again. I want to top it.

“It definitely drives me. I want to be considered one of the best defenders in the country. I just want to leave my mark when I leave Bradley. I’ve really been thinking about that this season.”

Simms-Edwards appears headed toward achieving that goal. He’s just eclipsed 1,000 points for his career. He’s averaging 3.38 steals, which is second in the country, and with 54 steals in 16 games is near pace to break the Missouri Valley single-season steals record of 96. Finally, Simms-Edwards has been a key piece in Bradley’s program returning to a respectable level.

“Dyricus is going about it the right way,” Bradley coach Geno Ford said. “He was here when the program was really down. He’s been a part of some bad basketball teams. In spite of that, he’s found a way. If he can finish the last half of the year as he’s played the first half of the year, people will remember him for being one of the best to ever play here.”

Simms-Edwards’ love for defense arrived late in his career. A year ago, Ford thought Simms-Edwards was actually a liability as a defender at times.

But at the start of this season, something clicked for Simms-Edwards. He started utilizing his wingspan and strength to begin snatching the ball from opponents, and he hasn’t stopped doing it.

Simms-Edwards had three steals against Michigan. He’s had four games of four steals, two games of five steals and he swiped a career-high eight steals against Drake.

“I didn’t dream he’d get this many steals,” Ford said. “We don’t press and we don’t get out and deny and gamble. For him to get that amount of steals, it’s remarkable what he’s done.”

Western Illinois rolling: Who from the state could be dancing come March and is currently the hottest team in Illinois?

It may be a surprise to some, but the answer is Western Illinois.

Building off last year’s run to the Summit Conference championship game and a CBI tournament appearance, the Leathernecks are 13-3 overall, 5-0 in conference and are currently riding a 10-game winning streak.

And it’s been defense that has put Western Illinois in such a favorable spot. The Leathernecks rank second in the country in defense, allowing 50.8 points a game. They’ve held four opponents to under 40 points and have only allowed one team more than 70 points.

“If you play defense in any sport, you have a chance to win,” said fifth-year coach Jim Molinari. “We really take pride in defending.”

Western Illinois’ effort has been led by seniors Ceola Clark and Terrell Parks. Clark is key to the top of the defense as the point guard, and Parks, a center, is the rim protector. They’ve combined for nearly three steals and three blocks per game.

Clark, who was a granted sixth year of eligibly this season due to multiple injuries in his career, has a special place in Molinari’s heart.

“I say this to people: for our system, I don’t think there’s a guard in the country I would rather have than Ceola Clark,” Molinari said. “I would think Jim Beilein would say the same thing about Trey Burke because they like to run up and down. Because we pack our defense and play a lot of ball-screen offense like we do, I wouldn’t want any other than Ceola Clark.”

UIC, Illinois State declining: Illinois State and UIC were two of the state’s most impressive programs during the non-conference season.

Illinois State looked like a potential NCAA tournament team with a 9-3 non-conference mark and respectable losses to Louisville, Northwestern and Wyoming. UIC opened the year 9-1 and knocked off Northwestern on the road.

As of late, both programs have looked just the opposite.

Illinois State has dropped its first four Missouri Valley games. On top of that, Redbirds coach Dan Muller suspended star guard Tyler Brown indefinitely Wednesday for conduct detrimental to the team.

As for UIC, the Flames have lost five of their last six games and are 1-2 in the Horizon League. Their defense has been the problem lately. They allowed only one opponent to score 70 points in their first 10 games. Four of their last six opponents have reached that mark.

ESPNChicago.com Player of the Week: DePaul junior guard Brandon Young is doing all he can to keep the Blue Demons competitive in the Big East. He’s averaged 21.7 points, four rebounds and four assists in DePaul’s three conference games. He scored a career-high 35 points in a loss to Connecticut on Tuesday.

ESPNChicago.com Team of the Week: Northern Illinois used a true team effort to snap a five-game losing streak and defeat Miami (Ohio) 72-61 on Wednesday. The Huskies had 11 players score in the win. Aksel Bolin had 11 points and five rebounds off the bench.

Week 11 college football preview

November, 11, 2011
11/11/11
11:11
AM CT


Rice (3-6) at Northwestern (4-5)


When, where: 11 a.m. Saturday at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WGN-720 AM
Web: NUSports.com
RiceNorthwesternWhat you need to know: Northwestern never lost confidence throughout its five-game losing streak. The Wildcats believed they weren’t that far from turning it around, and it appears they were right. They’ve won their past two games, including last week’s 28-25 upset at Nebraska. Their defense especially came through against the Cornhuskers. It was the first time it had allowed less than 30 points since Sept. 17. Rice shouldn’t present a huge challenge for Northwestern. Rice’s defense has had its struggles this season, giving up 73 points to Houston two weeks ago.
Powers’ prediction: Northwestern 45, Rice 24


No. 24 Michigan (7-2) at Illinois (6-3)


When, where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill.
TV: ABC
Radio: WIND-560 AM
Web: ESPN3.com
MichiganIllinoisWhat you need to know: Illinois hasn’t been losing by much, but it has been losing, and that’s what’s important right now. Just as Illinois coach Ron Zook stated, a win was a win after a narrow victory over Western Michigan, a loss is still a loss. The Illini have dropped their past three games and are on the verge of seeing their season slip by. After starting 6-0, they’re now 6-3 and still have games against Michigan and Wisconsin. Last year’s Michigan game was a shootout with the Wolverines pulling out a 67-65 victory in triple overtime. Illinois’ defense should be better than that. The question is whether its offense can get going. The Illini haven’t scored more than 14 points in their last three games. They are coming off a bye last week.
Powers’ prediction: Michigan 24, Illinois 21


Notre Dame (6-3) at Maryland (2-7)


When, where: 6:30 p.m. Saturday at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
TV: NBC
Radio: WLS-890 AM
Web: ESPN3.com
Notre DameMarylandWhat you need to know: Notre Dame is amidst the easier portion of its schedule with Navy, Wake Forest and Maryland in consecutive games. Last week’s win over Wake Forest wasn’t as cushy as the Irish would have liked. Notre Dame needed to score 14 points in the third quarter and shut out Wake Forest in the second half to pull out a 24-17 win. Quarterback Tommy Rees is still searching for consistency. He threw two interceptions last week. Maryland enters this game on a five-game losing streak, but it has had some close contests. Its offense hasn’t put up more than 17 points in the last three weeks.
Scott Powers’ prediction: Notre Dame 34, Maryland 17


Ball State (6-4) at Northern Illinois (7-3)


When, where: 7 p.m. Tuesday at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill.
TV: ESPNU
Radio: WSCR-670 AM
Web: ESPN3.com
Ball StateNorthern IllinoisWhat you need to know: Northern Illinois, which has won five straight, is in first place in the MAC West, but it still likely needs to win out to remain atop the league. Their offense was its usual stellar self in Tuesday’s win over Bowling Green. What was different in the win was the defense also came to play. After allowing a touchdown on the opening play, Northern Illinois only gave up one more score the entire game. Ball State, one game behind the Huskies, has given up its share of points this year. In its four losses, it allowed 37 points or more.
Powers’ prediction: Northern Illinois 45, Ball State 27


Eastern Illinois (2-8) at Southern Illinois (2-7)


When, where: 2 p.m. Saturday at Saluki Stadium in Carbondale, Ill.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: EIUPanthers.com, SIUSalukis.com
Eastern IllinoisSouthern IllinoisWhat you need to know: Neither team’s season has gone as it hoped. Eastern Illinois looked like it had some potential at the beginning of the season, but have fallen on the wrong side of close games. The Panthers have lost four games by seven points or less, and two of those were by one point. Southern Illinois was 2-1 early in the year, but has lost its last six games. The Salukis’ offense struggled at first, but their defense has been the cause of defeat the last few weeks. They lost to South Dakota State 45-34 last week. This will be the final game for Eastern Illinois coach Bob Spoo, who is retiring.
Powers’ prediction: Eastern Illinois 38, Southern Illinois 31


South Dakota State (4-6) at Western Illinois (2-7)


When, where: 1 p.m. Saturday at Hanson Stadium in Macomb, Ill.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: GoLeathernecks.com
South Dakota StateWestern IllinoisWhat you need to know: Western Illinois has dropped its past four games. The Leathernecks’ offense has struggled the last three weeks, failing to score more than 17 points in any of those games. South Dakota State’s problem this season has been stopping opponents from scoring. The Jackrabbits have given up 30-plus points in seven games. Something will have to give in this one.
Powers’ prediction: South Dakota State 34, Western Illinois 24

Week 10 college football preview

November, 4, 2011
11/04/11
1:44
PM CT


Northwestern (3-5) at No. 10 Nebraska (7-1)

When, where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WGN-720 AM
Web: NUSports.com
NorthwesternNebraskaWhat you need to know: Northwestern found the win column again last week with a 59-38 win over Indiana after losing its previous five games. The Wildcats’ offense was clicking in every way, but the defense continued to have its troubles. Northwestern should benefit from the return of defensive lineman Tyler Scott and linebacker Bryce McNaul this week, but Nebraska is a different animal, too. The Cornhuskers are among the nation’s top 10 teams in rushing offense and are averaging 35.9 points per game. Northwestern will be the heavy underdog with Nebraska favored by as many as 18 points.
Powers’ prediction: Nebraska 41, Northwestern 27


Notre Dame (5-3) at Wake Forest (5-3)

When, where: 7 p.m. Saturday at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, N.C.
TV: ABC
Radio: WLS-890 AM
Web: ESPN3.com
NorthwesternWake ForestWhat you need to know: Notre Dame took care of Navy without any problems last week after falling to USC the week before. The Irish’s running game was especially dominant in the victory. Wake Forest has been up and down all season. The Demon Deacons are coming off a loss to North Carolina. They allowed 562 yards last week. Notre Dame’s offense could have a similar day.
Powers’ prediction: Notre Dame 41, Wake Forest 24


Northern Illinois (6-3) at Bowling Green (4-5)

When, where: 7 p.m. Tuesday at Doyt L. Perry Stadium in Bowling Green, Ohio
TV: ESPN2
Radio: WSCR-670 AM
Web: ESPN3.com
Northern IllinoisBowling GreenWhat you need to know: Northern Illinois took the driver’s seat in the MAC West after its dramatic 63-60 win over Toledo on Tuesday. The Huskies rank sixth in the country in total offense and have been averaging 41.2 points. Chandler Harnish is among the nation’s top quarterbacks in passing and rushing. Bowling Green’s defense has been consistently solid for much of the season, but did allow 45 points to Western Michigan earlier in the year.
Powers’ prediction: Northern Illinois 41, Bowling Green 28


Tennessee State (3-5) at Eastern Illinois (2-7)

When, where: 1:30 p.m. Saturday at O’Brien Field in Charleston, Ill.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: EIUPanthers.com
Tennessee StateEastern IllinoisWhat you need to know: Eastern Illinois snapped its seven-game losing streak with a 19-10 win over Austin Peay last week. Jake Walker rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown in the win. The Panthers will be looking to send coach Bob Spoo out with a victory in his final home game. Spoo will be honored for his 25 years at Eastern Illinois after the game.
Powers’ prediction: Eastern Illinois 34, Tennessee State 31


Western Illinois (2-6) at Illinois State (6-3)

When, where: 1 p.m. Saturday at Hancock Stadium in Normal, Ill.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: GoLeathernecks.com, GoRedbirds.com
Western IllinoisIllinois StateWhat you need to know: Illinois State will attempt to knock off its second in-state opponent in as many weeks. The Redbirds topped Southern Illinois 38-30 last Saturday and have been on a roll with four consecutive wins. Illinois State’s running game has been slowed down the past few weeks and will be looking for a boost against Western Illinois. The Leathernecks are on a three-games losing streak. They allowed nearly 500 yards of offense in last week’s 56-14 loss to Youngstown State.
Powers’ prediction: Illinois State 38, Western Illinois 20


Southern Illinois (2-6) at South Dakota State (3-6)

When, where: 2 p.m. Saturday at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium in Brookings, S.D.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: SIUSalukis.com
Southern IllinoisSouth Dakota StateWhat you need to know: There hasn’t been much between Southern Illinois winning and losing the last five weeks. If a play here or there goes the Salukis’ way, they would have likely won all five games. That didn’t happen, though. Southern Illinois is riding a five-game losing streak after last week’s loss to Illinois State. South Dakota State has endured its own struggles this season. South Dakota State leads the conference in passing offense, and Southern Illinois leads it in passing defense.
Powers’ prediction: South Dakota State 34, Southern Illinois 24

Week 6 football preview

October, 7, 2011
10/07/11
10:44
AM CT


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
Web: FightingIllini.com
IllinoisNorthwesternWhat 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
Web: NUSports.com
IllinoisNorthwesternWhat 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.
TV: NBC
Radio: WLS-890 AM
Web: UND.com
IllinoisNorthwesternWhat 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.
TV: None
Radio: WSCR-670 AM
Web: NIUHuskies.com
IllinoisNorthwesternWhat 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.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: GoRedbirds.com
IllinoisNorthwesternWhat 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.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: EIUPanthers.com
IllinoisNorthwesternWhat 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.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: ESPN3.com
IllinoisNorthwesternWhat 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

Week 5 football preview

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
10:52
AM CT


Northwestern (2-1) at No. 24 Illinois (4-0)


When, where: 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill.
TV: ESPN2
Radio: WIND-560 AM, WGN-720 AM
Web: ESPN3.com
IllinoisNorthwesternWhat you need to know: This year’s game may lack the hoopla of last season’s meeting at Wrigley Field, but this still should be an exciting one. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa is expected to return to the field for the first time since rupturing his Achilles tendon against Iowa last season. He was one of the nation’s most efficient quarterbacks before his injury. The game could actually include four quarterbacks with Northwestern using Persa and sophomore Kain Colter and Illinois utilizing sophomore Nathan Scheelhaase and freshman Reilly O’Toole. The Illini dominated Northwestern in the second half of last year’s game and won 48-27. Illinois is hosting its fifth consecutive home and is 4-0 for the first time since 1951. Northwestern has had plenty of time to prepare for the Illini. The Wildcats had last week off following their 21-14 loss to Army.
Scott Powers’ prediction: Illinois 27, Northwestern 24


Northern Illinois (2-2) at Central Michigan (1-3)


When, where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Kelly-Shorts Stadium in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
TV: None
Radio: WSCR-670 AM
Web: ESPN3.com
>Nothern IllinoisCentral MichiganWhat you need to know: Northern Illinois bounced back from its lopsided loss to Wisconsin with a 47-30 win over Cal Poly last week. The Huskies jumped out to a 27-0 lead. Chandler Harnish threw for two touchdowns and ran for one in the win and now owns the school record for most career touchdowns with 67. Central Michigan has lost its past three games, including a 45-7 loss to Michigan State last week. The Chippewas haven’t looked great on either side of the ball in recent weeks. Northern Illinois’ offense could have a big day. Central Michigan has allowed 40-plus points in its last two games.
Powers’ prediction: Northern Illinois 49, Central Michigan 20


Illinois State (2-2) at North Dakota State (3-0)


When, where: 1 p.m. Saturday at Fargodome in Fargo, N.D.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: GoRedbirds.com
Illinois StateNorth Dakota StateWhat you need to know: Illinois State evened its record with a 20-13 win over South Dakota State last week. Tyrone Walker had a career-high 10 receptions for 143 yards and one touchdown in the win. Three of the Redbirds’ four games this season have been decided by seven points. North Dakota State is considered one of the FCS’ top teams. It defeated Minnesota 37-24 last week and has scored 37 or more points in all its wins.
Powers’ prediction: North Dakota State 42, Illinois State 20


Eastern Illinois (1-3) at Southeast Missouri (0-3)


When, where: 6 p.m. Saturday at Houck Stadium in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: EIUPanthers.com
Southeast Missouri StateEastern IllinoisWhat you need to know: Eastern Illinois hasn’t found the win column since defeating Illinois State in the opening week. The Panthers lost their second consecutive close game last week, losing 28-21 to Jacksonville State. Eastern Illinois’ offense scored seven points in the second half. Its run game was contained in the loss. Southeast Missouri is still searching for its first win after losing 38-31 to Tennessee Tech last week. Its defense has allowed 38 or more points in every game this season.
Powers’ prediction: Eastern Illinois 34, Southeast Missouri 27


Southern Illinois (2-1) at Western Illinois (1-3)


When, where: 3 p.m. Saturday at Hanson Stadium in Macomb, Ill.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: SIUSalukis.com, GoLeathernecks.com
Southern IllinoisWestern IllinoisWhat you need to know: Southern Illinois has owned Western Illinois throughout most of the past decade. The Salukis have won their past nine meetings. Southern Illinois is coming off a 20-18 win over Missouri State. Redshirt freshman kicker Jackson MacLachlan made two field goals, including the game-winner with 50 seconds remaining to give the Salukis the win. Their defense has been dominant against FCS opponents this season. Western Illinois has lost the last two weeks, but the Leathernecks faced two of the better teams they will see this season in Missouri and Northern Iowa. Their offense could be in for another long day. Western Illinois has scored more than 10 points just once this season.
Powers’ prediction: Southern Illinois 28, Western Illinois 10

Week 2 college football previews

September, 8, 2011
9/08/11
5:26
PM CT

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
 alt= alt=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
Web: FightingIllini.com
 alt= alt=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
Web: NIUHuskies.com
 alt= alt=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.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: ESPN3.com
 alt= alt=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.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: GoRedbirds.com
 alt= alt=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.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: GoLeathernecks.com
 alt= alt=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

Week 1 College Football Previews

September, 1, 2011
9/01/11
5:35
PM CT

Northwestern (0-0) at Boston College (0-0)

When, where: 11 a.m. Saturday at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
TV: ESPNU
Radio: ESPN 1000
NorthwesternBoston CollegeWhat you need to know: There’s still no official word on whether Northwestern senior quarterback Dan Persa will start or even play on Saturday. While he’s practiced and has come a long way since rupturing his Achilles tendon against Iowa last season, he still isn’t a 100 percent, and Northwestern has historically not been one to take risks with such players. Sophomore Kain Colter is the Wildcats’ second option. Colter is a mobile quarterback, saw time last season when Persa was injured and has looked promising throughout the spring and fall. At the same time, he is still inexperienced, and he isn’t a Heisman Trophy candidate like Persa. Northwestern can spin it, but the Wildcats aren’t the same team if Persa doesn’t play. Defensively, the Wildcats have something to prove after allowing 163 points in their final three games last season. Boston College has been hit with a few injuries this preseason, including star running back Montel Harris.
Scott Powers’ prediction: Northwestern 27, Boston College 24

Arkansas State (0-0) at Illinois (0-0)

When, where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WIND-AM 560
Web: FightingIllini.com
Arkansas StateIllinoisWhat you need to know: If home is good to Illinois this season, the Illini will likely be good this season. They open with five consecutive home games and host eight total. Expectations are high for Illinois after winning a bowl game last year for the first time since 1999. The Illini return starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who started all of last season as a freshman. They do have to replace running back Mikel Leshoure, linebacker Martez Wilson and defensive tackle Corey Liuget, all of whom were drafted in the early rounds. Jason Ford takes over at running back and has the potential to have a breakout season. Arkansas State has battled with Big Ten teams before. In the past two years, it lost to Iowa and Indiana by a combined five points. The Red Wolves possess a potent offense and went for at least 300 yards in all 12 games last season.
Powers’ prediction: Illinois 45, Arkansas State 24

Army (0-0) at Northern Illinois (0-0)

When, where: 6 p.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill.
TV: None
Radio: WSCR-AM 670
Web: ESPN3.com
ArmyNIUWhat you need to know: Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren makes his debut on the sidelines. Even with a new coach, expectations haven’t changed in DeKalb. The Huskies are coming off an 11-3 season and a bowl win, and they return starting quarterback Chandler Harnish and their entire offensive line. It’s unknown who will emerge to replace Chad Spann in the backfield, but Northern Illinois believes it has a couple of capable backs. Northern Illinois’ defense is less experienced, but luckily that’s Doeren specialty. He was Wisconsin’s defensive coordinator before arriving to Northern Illinois. Army had its first winning season last year since 1996 and won its first bowl game since 1985. Jared Hassin ran for 1,000-plus yards last season and is back for the Black Knights.
Powers’ prediction: Northern Illinois 38, Army 17

Southern Illinois (0-0) at Southeast Missouri State (0-0)

When, where: 6 p.m. Saturday at Houck Stadium in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: SIUSalukis.com, KFVS12.com
SIUSoutheast Missouri StateWhat you need to know: Southern Illinois is coming off a rare season for the program. The Salukis went 5-6 last year and had their first losing season 2002. The Salukis return 14 starters from that team. The defense was given a boost when safety Mike McElroy was given a fifth year of eligibility by the NCAA. He has 11 career interceptions. Running back Steve Strother will be the lead back and had 930 all-purpose yards last season. He will be running behind an experienced offensive line, which includes center Bryan Boemer and David Pickard. Southeast Missouri State provided one of the lowlights for the Salukis last season. The Redhawks scored 18 unanswered points in the second half and rallied to win 24-21 at Southern Illinois. Southeast Missouri State reached the playoffs for the first in its 104-year history last season and may have difficulty repeating that feat after losing 14 starters. Starting quarterback Matt Scheible does return.
Powers’ prediction: Southern Illinois 38, Southeast Missouri State 34

Illinois State (0-0) at Eastern Illinois (0-0)

When, where: 6 p.m. Thursday at O’Brien Field in Charleston, Ill.
TV: Comcast SportsNet Chicago
Radio: WSCR-AM 670
Web: EIUPanthers.com, GoRedbirds.com
ISUEIUWhat you need to know: This is the 100th time these two in-state programs meet. Illinois State leads the series 51-39-9 and pulled out a 27-23 win over the Panthers in last year’s season finale. The game is now being called the Mid-America Classic. Illinois State returns the tandem of junior quarterback Matt Brown and junior wide receiver Tyrone Walker. The two connected for 974 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Illinois State returns 16 starters and will have 10 former Big Ten players on this year’s roster. Eastern Illinois returns 17 starters from last year’s 2-9 team. Panthers sophomore quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo should help improve that record after throwing for 1,639 yards and 15 touchdowns as a freshman.
Powers’ prediction: Illinois State 42, Eastern Illinois 24

Western Illinois (0-0) at Sam Houston State (0-0)

When, where: 6 p.m. Thursday at Bowers Stadium in Huntsville, Tex.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: GoLeathernecks.com
WIUSam Houston StateWhat you need to know: In his first year, Western Illinois coach Mark Hendrickson took the Leathernecks from a one-win team to an 8-5 record and their first playoff appearance in seven years. The challenge now for Hendrickson will be duplicating that success without Matt Barr as his quarterback. Barr, who graduated, passed for 3,410 yards and 27 touchdowns last season. Junior Wil Lunt was named the starting quarterback this week and started seven games as a freshman. Western Illinois returns Caulton Ray, who ran for 1,075 yards last season, and Bryce Flowers (804 rushing yards, 332 receiving yards) and Terriun Crump (888 receiving yards.) Defensively, the Leathernecks also lost Kyle Glazier, one of the FCS’ top linebackers. Sam Houston State returns 23 starters. The Leathernecks have won their last three meetings, including a 56-14 win in last year’s season opener.
Powers’ prediction: Sam Houston State 31, Western Illinois 24

Raffelson, Venegoni make splash for WIU

December, 21, 2010
12/21/10
5:27
PM CT
[+] EnlargeShepard Little
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comEastern Illinois may have picked up its running back of the future with Schaumburg's Shepard Little.
Western Illinois isn't one to normally grab too many football recruiting headlines, but the Leathernecks recently made a huge splash by receiving commitments from ESPNChicago.com All-Area senior linebackers Lake Zurich's JJ Raffelson and Carmel's Luke Venegoni.

Raffelson, who was in the running for ESPNChicago.com's Defensive Player of the Year, was the catalyst behind the state's top defense. He had 119 tackles and 23 tackles for a loss. He also had a team-high eight tackles in the Class 7A state championship game.

"He spent a tremendous amount of time in the offseason working his speed development as well as in the film room," Lake Zurich coach Bryan Stortz said. "He has logged a lot of hours studying the opponent. He knows how they're going to act and what we're going to do."

Venegoni was the defensive leader for another one of the state's top defenses. He had 120 tackles, 63 solo tackles, six tackles for a loss and two sacks this season for the Corsairs.

"Luke Venegoni is extremely fast and strong," Carmel coach Andy Bitto said. "He worked very hard in the offseason to position himself to be the defensive player of the year in the ESCC."

Western Illinois is coming off one its best seasons. A year after going 1-10, the Leathernecks were 8-5 this season and advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs.

Not to be outdone, Eastern Illinois likely picked up its running back of the future when Schaumburg senior Shepard Little recently committed to the Panthers.

Little, who was an ESPNChicago.com All-Area selection, rushed for 1,897 yards and 24 touchdowns this season.

"I think his vision is good," Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling said. "I think he's sneaky powerful for his size. I don't think you expect someone of his size to hit you like he does. His ability to hit you and make you miss, that's the tough part. His speed is good, but it's not great. He's not going to run past everyone on Friday night, but he's going to make everyone miss."

Week 8 in-state football preview

October, 21, 2010
10/21/10
8:53
PM CT
[+] EnlargeDan Persa
Jerry Lai/US PresswireDan Persa and the Wildcats face one of the nation's hottest teams, Michigan State, on Saturday.
No. 7 Michigan State (7-0) at Northwestern (5-1)
When, where: 11 a.m. Saturday at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.
TV: ESPN
Radio: WGN-AM 720
Web: ESPN3.COM
What you need to know: The last time Northwestern took the field was two weeks ago, and it wasn’t a memorable occasion. The Wildcats fell 20-17 at home to a struggling Purdue team. Their bye week arrived at the perfect time. Northwestern has had two weeks to fix some things, especially its special teams’ play, and prepare for Michigan State. The Spartans arrive in Evanston as one of the country’s hottest teams. Their offense (34.4 points per game) and defense (16.6) have been equally good with both ranking in the top 25.
Scott Powers’ prediction: Michigan State 34, Northwestern 24

Notre Dame (4-3) at Navy (4-2)
When, where:
11 a.m. at The New Meadowlands Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
TV: CBS.
Radio: WLS-AM 890.
Web: und.com, navysports.com.
What you need to know: Saturday marks the 84th installment of the rivalry, with Navy having won two of the last three (2009 and 2007). Notre Dame is 14-0 all-time against the Midshipmen in New Jersey. Strange things tend to happen when these two teams square off. In seven of the last 14 meetings, one team has scored at least one touchdown on defense or special teams. Navy, isn't getting the same kind of production from Ricky Dobbs, who rushed for 27 touchdowns in 2009 and set an NCAA record for a quarterback, but is still pumping out around 260 rushing yards per game. However, the Midshipmen recently fixed their red zone issues. Navy was ranked 118th out of 120 FBS teams through its first four games when inside the opponent's 20-yard line. But in their last two victories over Wake Forest and Southern Methodist, the Mids were 8-for-8 on TDs once inside enemy lines. Defensively, Notre Dame has become increasingly stingy in that category, allowing only five touchdowns on opponents' last 16 trips to the red zone. The Irish have also stiffened against the run, giving up only a combined 152 yards in their last three contests. It's the best three-game stretch by an Irish defense since 1982. Sophomore linebacker Manti Te'o has a lot to do with that, ranking fifth in the FBS with 79 tackles. Navy's triple-option offensive scheme shouldn't completely throw the Irish for a loop considering coach Brian Kelly has designated a chunk of time each week in preparation for the unconventional scheme. Offensively, the Irish are hobbled. Tight end Kyle Rudolph was a spectator last week against Western Michigan and will be the rest of the season. Starting slot receiver Theo Riddick is out Saturday with a severe ankle sprain and star Michael Floyd is slowed by a hamstring. Fortunately, running back Armando Allen appears healthy and will provide QB Dayne Crist with a veteran pair of hands out of the backfield. As far as the big picture is concerned, Notre Dame knows what a loss to Navy means. Starting with the Mids, the Irish, 6-2 at the time, lost their final four games last season, leading to a coaching change.
Wes Morgan's prediction: Notre Dame 31, Navy 27.

Indiana (4-2) at Illinois (3-3)
When, where: 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WIND-AM 560
Web: FightingIllini.com
What you need to know: Illinois is still in good shape in the Big Ten. It was vital the Illini won one of their last three games, and they were able to upset Penn State on the road. They also hung with Michigan State and Ohio State. Illinois now has a stretch of games beginning with Indiana where it has to take care of business. Purdue, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern and Fresno State follow the Indiana game. Most of those are winnable. The Hoosiers started out the season strong, but lost their first two conference games and just held on for a win over Arkansas State last week.
Powers’ prediction: Illinois 30, Indiana 17

Central Michigan (2-5) at Northern Illinois (5-2)
When, where: 3 p.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill.
TV: Comcast SportsNet Chicago, ESPN GamePlan
Radio: WSCR-670 AM
Web: ESPN3.com
What you need to know: Northern Illinois is riding a four-game winning streak into this week. The Huskies have been putting together strong performances on both sides of the ball. In each of their last three games, they’ve scored more than 30 points and held their opponents to less than 17 points. Their running attack ranks 11th in the country with 242.6 yards per game. Chad Spann has rushed for 753 yards and eight touchdowns. Central Michigan isn’t a team to overlook. It has been in most games this season, including a 30-25 loss to Northwestern.
Powers’ prediction: Northern Illinois 24, Central Michigan 20

Illinois State (4-3) at Northern Iowa (3-3)
When, where: 4 p.m. Saturday at UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: GoRedbirds.com
What you need to know: Illinois State rebounded from a two-game losing streak to defeat North Dakota State 34-24 last week. Cornerback E.J. Jones came up big with two interceptions and one forced fumble. Northern Iowa will be a difficult test for the Redbirds. The Panthers’ record doesn’t show it, but they are among the best teams in the FCS.
Powers’ prediction: Northern Iowa 27, Illinois State 21

Murray State (2-4) at Eastern Illinois (0-7)
When, where: 1:30 p.m. Saturday at O’Brien Field in Charleston, Ill.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: EIUPanthers.com
What you need to know: Eastern Illinois’ woes continued last week with a 34-20 loss to Tennessee Tech. The Panthers committed six turnovers in the loss. This week won’t get any easier. Murray State has a high-powered offense and scored 72 points in its last game.
Powers’ prediction: Murray State 42, Eastern Illinois 21

Western Illinois (5-2) at Missouri State (2-4)
When, where: 1 p.m. Saturday at Plaster Field in Springfield, Mo.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: GoLeathernecks.com
What you need to know: Western Illinois got back on the winning track last week with a 40-38 win over Youngstown State. Matt Barr connected with Lito Senatus for a 17-yard touchdown in the final minute to give the Leathernecks the win. Missouri State is coming off an overtime loss to Indiana State and a 72-59 loss to Murray State.
Powers’ prediction: Western Illinois 38, Missouri State 20

Powers' Week 6 football preview

October, 7, 2010
10/07/10
8:02
PM CT

Pittsburgh (2-2) at Notre Dame (2-3)
WHEN/WHERE:
2:40 p.m. at Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.
TV: NBC
Radio: WLS-AM 890
Web: und.com, pittsburghpanthers.com
What you need to know: Pittsburgh is coming off two consecutive victories over Notre Dame, including a four-overtime thriller in South Bend in 2008. Panthers coach Dave Wannstedt shuffled the offensive line before last Saturday's win over Florida International and has dealt with some crushing injuries on the defensive side of the ball. The FIU game did not feature Panthers sophomore running back Dion Lewis, who will return from a shoulder injury against the injury. The nation's returning leader in yards (1,799) is close to losing his starting job after totaling just 143 total yards through the first three games this season. Classmate Ray Graham, a reliable reserve last season, stepped in and peeled off 277 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries. Quarterback Tino Sunseri is averaging around 183 passing yards per game. Defensively, the Panthers are surrendering close to 500 yards per outing -- a pretty even split against the run and pass. Notre Dame, coming off a morale-boosting road win over rival Boston College, suffered three minor dings along its offensive line, but all three injured players are expected to go Saturday. Irish QB Dayne Crist had his least productive day in terms of yardage against the Eagles, but the offense achieved some measure of balance that coach Brian Kelly had been searching for. Though RB Armando Allen coughed up the ball once (as did backup Cierre Wood), the senior came close to the century mark for the first time since Purdue. Both squads are looking for production from their star wide receivers. Notre Dame's Michael Floyd has just two touchdowns and has only eclipsed 100 yards in a game once this year. Pitt's Jon Baldwin, who had six 100-yard games in 2009, enters this weekend's game with just 15 receptions for 211 yards and two TDs. The Irish may be trying to end a losing streak, but first-year coach Brian Kelly hopes to continue his winning ways against the Panthers. Kelly led Cincinnati to back-to-back Big East championships by going through a talented Pitt team each of the last two seasons.
Wes Morgan's prediction: Notre Dame 30, Pittsburgh 23.

Purdue (2-2) at Northwestern (5-0)
When, where: 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WIND-AM 560, WNUR-FM 89.3
Web: WGNradio.com, wnur.org, NUsports.com
What you need to know: Northwestern has a chance to improve to 6-0 for the first time since 1962. Although the Wildcats haven’t faced a challenging schedule, they have taken care of business so far, and that should continue against Purdue. The Boilermakers have had their share of struggles this season. They’ve lost to Notre Dame and Toledo and narrowly defeated Ball State and Western Illinois. In last week’s 31-20 loss to Toledo, Purdue’s defense allowed 378 total yards to the Rockets, who had been ranked last in the nation in offense. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa, who ranks second in the country in quarterback rating, should be able to move the ball against Purdue. The key will be eliminating red-zone mistakes. In last week’s 29-28 win over Minnesota, the Wildcats turned the ball over twice in the red zone.
Scott Powers’ prediction: Northwestern 41, Purdue 27

Illinois (2-2) at Penn State (3-2)
When, where: 11 a.m. Saturday at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pa.
TV: ESPN2
Radio: WIND-AM 560
Web: ESPN3.com
What you need to know: Illinois proved in last week’s 24-13 loss to No. 2 Ohio State that it can play with the big boys. The Illini’s defense contained Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor for much of the game, and their offense was able to move the ball. Illinois needs to start moving on from moral victories, though. The Illini played better than expected against Missouri in the season-opener and against Ohio State, but they’re still losses. If they’re going to end up over .500 this season, they need to start winning games. That could prove difficult with their next two being at Penn State and at Michigan State. The Nittany Lions are beatable, though. Their offense has scored just 19 points a game. If Illinois redshirt freshman quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase can get his team in the end zone a few times, the Illini could pull off the upset. Illinois needs to reduce its penalties. It committed nine of them for 74 yards last week.
Powers’ prediction: Penn State 24, Illinois 20

Temple (4-1) at Northern Illinois (3-2)
When, where: 11 a.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill.
TV: ESPN GamePlan
Radio: WSCR-AM 670
Web: ESPN3.com
What you need to know: Northern Illinois is on a roll with back-to-back road wins over Minnesota and Akron. In last week’s 50-14 victory over Akron, Huskies quarterback Chandler Harnish passed for 281 yards and three touchdowns. This week should be more challenging as Temple appears to be the class of the MAC. The Owls have defeated Army, Central Michigan, Connecticut and Villanova and lost in a close one at Penn State. Northern Illinois will have to contain running backs Matt Brown and Bernard Pierce. They have combined for 727 rushing yards this season.
Powers’ prediction: Northern Illinois 21, Temple 20

Northern Iowa (2-2) at Southern Illinois (2-3)
When, where: 2 p.m. Saturday at Saluki Stadium in Carbondale, Ill.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: SIUSalukis.com
What you need to know: Southern Illinois snapped its three-game losing streak with a 38-17 win over Illinois State last week. The Salukis ran for a season-high 342 yards in the win. Shariff Harris rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns. Northern Iowa will be another test for Southern Illinois. The Panthers are ranked No. 15 in the FCS Coaches Poll and are coming off a 24-14 win over South Dakota State.
Powers’ prediction: Southern Illinois 34, Northern Iowa 21

Illinois State (3-2) at Indiana State (2-2)
When, where: 2 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Terre Haute, Ind.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: GoRedbirds.com
What you need to know: Illinois State looks to bounce back after losing to Southern Illinois 38-17 last week. The Redbirds’ defense had trouble containing Southern Illinois’ running attack. Illinois State wide receiver Marvon Sanders was one of the lone bright spots as he had his third consecutive game of 100-plus yards. Indiana State, which lost 40-7 to Western Illinois earlier in the season, shouldn’t give Illinois State much trouble.
Powers’ prediction: Illinois State 49, Indiana State 13

Eastern Illinois (0-5) at Eastern Kentucky (1-3)
When, where: 6 p.m. Saturday at Roy Kidd Stadium in Richmond, Ky.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: ESPN3.com
What you need to know: Eastern Illinois fell to 0-5 with last week’s 28-13 loss to Southeast Missouri. Freshman quarterback Jimmy Garappolo, a Rolling Meadows’ graduate, had his ups and downs last week. He was 20-of-33 passing for 163 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. Eastern Kentucky should be more even of an opponent for the Panthers. The Colonels lost their first three games before defeating a D-II opponent last week.
Powers’ prediction: Eastern Illinois 17, Eastern Kentucky 10

Western Illinois (4-1) at South Dakota State (0-4)
When, where: 6 p.m. Saturday at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium in Brookings, S.D.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: GoLeathernecks.com
What you need to know: Western Illinois pulled off a shocker last week, defeating FCS-ranked North Dakota State 28-16 on the road. The Leathernecks rushed for 223 yards and two touchdowns, and Matt Barr was 17 of 24 for 175 yards and two touchdowns against one of the top FCS defenses. With a win over South Dakota State, Western Illinois would be off to its best start since 2000.
Powers’ prediction: Western Illinois 41, South Dakota State 17

Week 5 football preview

September, 30, 2010
9/30/10
3:58
PM CT
Notre Dame (1-3) at Boston College (2-1)
7 p.m. at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
TV: ABC.
Radio: WLS-AM 890.
Web: und.com, bceagles.cstv.com.
What you need to know: Boston College has won six of the last seven Holy Wars, but Notre Dame came out ahead last fall with a 20-16 victory in South Bend. The Eagles, coming off a shutout loss to Virginia Tech, end a four-game home stand with a new quarterback. Sophomore Dave Shinskie lost his spot after throwing two picks and completing fewer than 50 percent of his passes against the Hokies. Either classmate Mike Marscovetra or freshman Chase Rettig will get the nod. No matter who lines up under center for the Eagles, coach Frank Spaziani will rely heavily on tailback Montel Harris, a junior averaging 102 yards per game. Defensively, Boston College is giving up nearly 240 passing yards per game but has snagged five interceptions. Notre Dame hasn't rushed the ball for over 100 yards since Week 2 and has only scored two touchdowns on the ground all season. Senior tailback Armando Allen struggled in last week's loss to Stanford, totaling just 49 yards on 15 attempts. Irish quarterback Dayne Crist threw for over 300 yards but tossed an interception that was returned for a TD against Stanford. Michael Floyd had his biggest receiving performance of the year in terms of yardage against the Cardinal with 110. Star tight end Kyle Rudolph made no impact Saturday with one catch for one yard. Inside linebacker Manti Te'o registered a staggering 21 tackles and is trying to encourage the rest of his teammates to step up their games. If ND coach Brian Kelly is correct about a tough early-season schedule toughening up his squad, the Irish should pull this one out against an Eagles team that didn't look incredibly impressive in wins over Weber State and Kent State.
Wes Morgan's prediction: Notre Dame 27, Boston College 21.

Northwestern (4-0) at Minnesota (1-3)
When, where: 11 a.m. Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis
TV: ESPN
Radio: WGN-AM 720, WNUR-FM 89.3
Web: ESPN3.com
What you need to know: Northwestern enters the Big Ten season on the easier end of the competition scale. Minnesota has had its struggles this season with losses to Northern Illinois and South Dakota at its new TCF Bank Stadium. Northern Illinois running back Chad Spann exposed holes in Minnesota’s defense last week and ran for 200-plus yards. That was welcomed news for Northwestern’s running backs. The Wildcats’ running game could use a jumpstart after another so-so game against Central Michigan. Northwestern’s Dan Persa is leading the country in quarterback rating. Defensively, the Wildcats have recorded at least one interception in their last eight games. They have eight this season.
Scott Powers’ prediction: Northwestern 38, Minnesota 17

No. 2 Ohio State (4-0) at Illinois (2-1)
When, where: 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WIND-AM 560
Web: FightingIllini.com
What you need to know: Opposite to where Northwestern starts the Big Ten, Illinois begins its conference play with No. 2 Ohio State. The Illini defense will have its hands full with quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who has thrown for 939 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushed for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Ohio State also possesses a strong run defense This could be a chance for Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure to put himself on the national map with a big game. Leshoure has rushed for 100-plus yards in his last four games and is averaging 132.7 yards this season. Illinois redshirt freshman quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase will make his Big Ten debut.
Powers’ prediction: Ohio State 41, Illinois 21

Northern Illinois (2-2) at Akron (0-4)
When, where: 5 p.m. Saturday at InfoCision Stadium in Akron, Ohio
TV: None
Radio: WYLL-AM 1160
Web: NIUHuskies.com
What you need to know: Northern Illinois begins MAC play after back-to-back Big Ten games. The Huskies lost to Illinois and upset Minnesota on the road. Chad Spann was especially impressive in last week’s win over the Gophers as he rushed for 223 yards and two touchdowns. Compared to the Huskies’ past two opponents, Akron should be a cakewalk. The Zips are winless, and one of their losses was to Gardner-Webb.
Powers’ prediction: Northern Illinois 31, Akron 14

Southern Illinois (1-3) at Illinois State (3-1)
When, where: 1 p.m. Saturday at Hancock Stadium in Normal, Ill.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: SIUSalukis.com, GoRedbirds.com
What you need to know: These teams are heading in different directions. Southern Illinois, once a top-5 FCS team, has dropped its Past three games, including a 31-28 loss to Youngstown State last week. The Salukis have committed seven turnovers in their last two games. Illinois State has won its past two games and is coming off a 44-41 double-overtime victory over Missouri State. Ashton Leggett, a transfer from Michigan State, has a team-leading 281 rushing yards and six touchdowns for the Redbirds. He scored four times in last week’s win.
Powers’ prediction: Illinois State 27, Southern Illinois 24

Southeast Missouri (3-1) at Eastern Illinois (0-4)
When, where: 1:30 p.m. Saturday at O’Brien Field in Charleston, Ill.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: ESPN3.com
What you need to know: Eastern Illinois is off to a 0-4 start for the first time since 1977. The Panthers rallied last week from a 28-9 deficit and were in striking distance in the final seconds, but they had a pass intercepted on the 3-yard line with 1.2 seconds left and lost 28-23. Freshman quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, a Rolling Meadows’ graduate, made his first career start last week for Eastern Illinois. Southeast Missouri is 2-0 in conference and has a win over Southern Illinois.
Powers’ prediction: Southeast Missouri 30, Eastern Illinois 14

Western Illinois (3-1) at North Dakota State (3-1)
When, where: 1 p.m. Saturday at Fargodome in Fargo, N.D.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: GoLeathernecks.com
What you need to know: The Leathernecks have been a huge surprise so far this season. Last week, they defeated Indiana State 40-7, and Bryce Flowers and Caulton Ray each rushed for 100-plus yards. North Dakota State will present a new challenge for Western Illinois. North Dakota State will be its first ranked FCS opponent of the season.
Powers’ prediction: North Dakota State 21, Western Illinois 17

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