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Cincinnati Bearcats at Illinois Fighting Illini FREE PICK 9/7/13

Cincinnati Bearcats (1-0) at Illinois Fighting Illini (1-0)

NCAAF Football: Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm (Memorial Stadium)

The Line: Illinois Fighting Illini 10.5 -- Over/Under: 58 See the Latest Odds


The 1-0 Cincinnati Bearcats pay a visit to the 1-0 Illiniois Fighting Illini in a week 2 AAC-B1G showdown.

Cincinnati got a strong showing on both sides of the ball in week 1 as they made easy work of the Purdue Boilermakers 42-7. Cinnci struggled to get things going in the first half and they stalled multiple times before breaking things open in the 2nd quarter.  Munchie Legaux got the nod for the Bearcats and collected a 10 yard rushing TD and a 15 yard TD pass to Blake Annen before the break. Leguax finished the game 13-20 for 145, a TD and two picks.  His backup, Brandon Kay, saw limited action and was 4-5 for 59 yards.  Ralph Abernathy and Hosey Williams both carried the ball 15 times and combined for just shy of 130 yards and a TD a piece.  The Bearcats are sure to use a platoon of tailbacks as they audition for a feature back to replace the production of George Winn.  The Cincinnati defense was impressive throughout this one, forcing 4 turnovers and allowing only one rushing touchdown.  

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Cincinnati Bearcats at Illinois Fighting Illini FREE PICK 9/7/13

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois hung on for a win over Southern Illinois 42-34 in their week one debut.  The Illini fell behind 7-3 after one before exploding for 22 points in the 2nd quarter.  After the break, the Salukis were in attack mode and continued to make things interesting before a late FG by Illinois and a defensive stand put things out of reach.  Nathan Scheelhaase led the way for the Illini passin for 416 yards and 2 TD's on 28-0f-36 completions.  Ryan Langford and Josh Ferguson were very impressive as well, as Langford racked up 115 yards receiving and Ferguson tallied 150 all purpose yards, including a 53 yard screen pass in the 2nd quarter that he took for a TD.  The Illini will need to have some youngsters emerge in the secondary, as they were routinely beat in coverage by the Saluki WR corps, a unit that is probably the weakest they will see all season.

Some trends to consider -- Cincinnati is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 September games and Illinois is 8-18 against the spread in their last 26 non-conference contests.

Memorial Stadium is a tough place to play and while I like the Illini's home field advantage and their offensive weapons, they have far too many glaring holes on D and a mobile QB like Munchie Legaux should be able to keep them on their heels if Tuberville game plans appropriately.  I like a big game from Abernathy and Williams on the ground and for Blake Annen to have his way with the Illini secondary as the Bearcats move to 2-0 with the cover on the road.


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