Northwestern Wildcats (9-2) at Illinois Fighting Illini (5-6)
|Date & Time||Saturday November 28, 2015, 3:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Illinois Fighting Illini +3.5 -- Over/Under:
The Northwestern Wildcats and Illinois Fighting Illini play Saturday at Soldier Field for the Land of Lincoln Trophy.
The Northwestern Wildcats look to win double-digit games for just the fourth time in school history. Clayton Thorson is completing 52 percent of his passes for 1,319 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions. Thorson has zero touchdown passes in his last three games. Dan Vitale and Christian Jones have combined for 557 receiving yards and five touchdowns while Austin Carr has 11 receptions. The Northwestern Wildcats ground game is averaging 192.2 yards per contest, and Justin Jackson leads the way with 1,172 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, Northwestern is allowing 16.6 points and 309.7 yards per game. Anthony Walker leads the Wildcats with 99 tackles, Nick VanHoose has three interceptions and Deonte Gibson has nine sacks.
The Illinois Fighting Illini hope to clinch a bowl game for the fourth time in six seasons. Wes Lunt is completing 56.8 percent of his passes for 2,520 yards, 14 touchdowns and five interceptions. Lunt has five touchdown passes in his last three games. Geronimo Allison and Malik Turner have combined for 1,304 receiving yards and six touchdowns while Desmond Cain has 49 receptions. The Illinois Fighting Illini ground game is averaging 133.9 yards per contest, and Josh Ferguson leads the way with 668 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, Illinois is allowing 23.2 points and 350.9 yards per game. Clayton Fejedelem leads the Fighting Illini with 124 tackles, Taylor Barton has four interceptions and Dawuane Smoot has seven sacks. Brandon Roberts, Ke'Shawn Vaughn and Sean Adesanya are questionable.
The Wildcats are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games in November and 17-8 ATS in their last 25 games following a ATS win. The Fighting Illini are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Wildcats are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings in Illinois.
While Illinois may be the more desprate team with a bowl bid on the line, Northwestern is way too good defensively to give this game up. Also, Pat Fitzgerald is eager to continue to build his program and would love for the Wildcats to get in a nice bowl game. Northwestern won't win pretty, but the Cats should do enough to cover this small number.