Week 8 college football previews

October, 22, 2011
10/22/11
10:43
AM CT

No. 23 Illinois (6-1) at Purdue (3-3) on Saturday
When, where: 11 a.m. at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind.
TV: ESPN2
Radio: WIND-560 AM
Web: ESPN3.com
What you need to know: Illinois is facing its first adversity of the season following last week’s 17-7 loss to Ohio State. The Illini’s defense was impressive again in the loss, but their offense faltered a number of times with turnovers and miscommunications. The return of sophomore wide receiver Darius Millines from injury should bolster the offense. Purdue isn’t to be overlooked. The Boilermakers nearly upset Penn State last week and a have strong mixture of running and passing. This is Illinois’ second road game of the season.
Scott Powers’ prediction: Illinois 38, Purdue 24


USC (5-1) at Notre Dame (4-2) on Saturday
When, where: 6:30 p.m. at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind.
TV: NBC
Radio: WLS-890 AM
Web: UND.com
What you need to know: Notre Dame is coming off its bye week and has won four consecutive games. The Irish snapped an eight-game losing streak to USC with a 20-16 win last year. Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees has been precise with his passes in the last two games, throwing for eight touchdowns and no interceptions. USC quarterback Matt Barkley has thrown 16 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. USC running back Marc Tyler and wide receiver Marqis Lee were banged up in last week’s win over Cal, but are likely to play against Notre Dame. The Irish play four of our their last six games at home.
Scott Powers’ prediction: Notre Dame 41, USC 27


No. 21 Penn State (6-1) at Northwestern (2-4) on Saturday
When, where: 6 p.m. at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WIND-560 AM
Web: NUSports.com
What you need to know: Northwestern’s season is slipping by it. The Wildcats have lost four in a row and have opened their Big Ten schedule 0-3. They’ve haven’t lost five consecutive games since 2006. The big plays have especially cost Northwestern this season. It allowed three touchdown passes of 35 or more yards in last week’s loss to Iowa. Penn State’s offense hasn’t been stellar this season. Its passing game has been limited, and it has mostly relied on sophomore running back Silas Redd. The Nittany Lions’ defense has allowed only one opponent more than 18 points.
Powers’ prediction: Penn State 27, Northwestern 24


Northern Illinois (4-3) at Buffalo (2-5) on Saturday
When, where: 11 a.m. at UB Stadium in Buffalo, N.Y.
TV: ESPN Regional
Radio: WSCR-670 AM
Web: NIUHuskies.com
What you need to know: Northern Illinois appears to have reignited its season with its 51-22 win over Western Michigan last week. The Huskies went off for 24 points in the third quarter alone. Quarterback Chandler Harnish rushed for 229 yards on 14 carries. Northern Illinois’ offense should be able to put up plenty of points on Buffalo, too. The Bulls have allowed 112 points in their last three games. It’s the first of three consecutive road games for Northern Illinois.
Powers’ prediction: Northern Illinois 41, Buffalo 20


Indiana State (5-2) at Illinois State (4-3) on Saturday
When, where: 3 p.m. at Hancock Stadium in Normal, Ill.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: ESPN3.com
What you need to know: Illinois State has looked impressive in its last two games. The Redbirds were dominant on both sides of the ball in last week’s 28-3 win over South Dakota. Running back Ashton Leggett ran for 100-plus yards again in the win. Indiana State will provide another test for them. Indiana State is coming off a 46-24 win over Western Illinois. Its losses have been to Northern Iowa and Penn State this season.
Powers’ prediction: Illinois State 34, Indiana State 30


Tennessee-Martin (3-3) at Eastern Illinois (1-6) on Saturday
When, where: 1:30 p.m. at O’Brien Field in Charleston, Ill.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: EIUPanthers.com
What you need to know: Eastern Illinois dropped its fifth consecutive game with last week’s 36-27 loss to Murray State. The Panthers actually led 27-17 to start the fourth quarter, but surrendered 19 points in the final quarter. Chris Wright had five receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. Tennessee-Martin should be another tough game for the Panthers. The Skyhawks have lost their three games by a combined seven points this season.
Powers’ prediction: Tennessee-Martin 41, Eastern Illinois 31


Missouri State (0-7) at Western Illinois (2-4) on Saturday
When, where: 6 p.m. at Hanson Field in Macomb, Ill.
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: GoLeathernecks.com
What you need to know: Western Illinois’ defense couldn’t match Indiana State’s offense last week, and the Leathernecks lost 46-24. Terriun Crump had eight receptions for 111 yards in the loss. Missouri State should be an easier games for Western Illinois. The Bears are winless this season. Missouri State did defeat Western Illinois 31-28 last season.
Powers’ prediction: Western Illinois 28, Missouri State 20


Southern Illinois (2-4) at Northern Iowa (5-1) on Saturday
When, where: 3 p.m. at UNI-Dome in Cedar Fall, Iowa
TV: None
Radio: None
Web: SIUSalukis.com
What you need to know: Southern Illinois is on a three-game losing streak, and that is likely to extend to four with the Salukis traveling to Northern Iowa. Southern Illinois allowed 21 points in the third quarter last week and lost 35-23 to Youngstown State. Northern Iowa is ranked No. 2 in the FBC. Its only loss has been to Iowa State.
Powers’ prediction: Northern Iowa 34, Southern Illinois 17

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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