After defeating Nebraska within the first recreation of the Bret Bielema period, Illinois was the sufferer of an upset to the College of Texas at San Antonio at State Farm Heart final Saturday night time.
Trying to finish their one-game skid on the street in Charlottesville, the Illini hope QB1 Brandon Peters returns after lacking final week with a shoulder damage, although Artwork Sitkowski is the anticipated starter.
The Day by day Illini sports activities workers made their picks for Illinois’ first street recreation of the yr: a showdown with the Virginia Cavaliers.
Jackson Janes: Virginia 31, Illinois 13
After wanting second-best for all 60 minutes towards the Roadrunners final week, Illinois doesn’t have a lot momentum in its nook, which might be a difficulty towards a Cavalier staff that doesn’t lose a lot at dwelling.
Brandon Peters’ standing stays unknown, and Artwork Sitkowski has proven that he generally is a stable backup. However regardless of throwing for 266 yards and three touchdowns final week, Sitkowski was a bit careless together with his throws at occasions, because the UTSA protection had at the least two or three dropped interceptions. Getting Peters again could be enormous, but it surely appears to be like like Sitkowski might be getting the beginning nod. No matter who the Illini have below heart, I nonetheless suppose quarterback Brennan Armstrong and the Cavaliers are gonna win fairly handily.
Chase Brown and Chase Hayden might be wholesome this week, and their presences had been actually missed final week, with the main Illinois rusher going for under 39 yards. This primary street recreation of the Bielema period might be a troublesome check, and I believe the Cavaliers are merely deeper and extra gifted than this present Illini squad.
Wes Hollenberg: Virginia 34, Illinois 20
The Illini supplied an underwhelming efficiency final week of their loss to UTSA, and Virginia has been a juggernaut at dwelling for years. Illinois has further issues with Calvin Hart Jr. out for the season and an unsure quarterback scenario. Virginia’s greatest weak spot is its move protection, so sturdy play from whoever begins at quarterback might be important for the Illini to have an opportunity.
That is Bielema’s first street recreation with Illinois, and it occurs to be towards a robust opponent. With out a lot momentum, I’ll have to see him show he can win in these conditions earlier than I’ll consider it.
Will Payne: Virginia 31, Illinois 25
The primary away recreation of the season for Bret Bielema’s Illini might be towards the Virginia Cavaliers.
Illinois will look to bounce again after a disappointing loss at Memorial Stadium final week towards UTSA. Artur Sitkowski will get the beginning once more at quarterback for the Illini, as Brandon Peters will proceed to take a seat on the bench as a result of shoulder damage he suffered in Week 0 towards Nebraska.
Virginia is scorching coming off its 43-0 win of their opening match towards William & Mary. The Cavaliers are going through a a lot stronger opponent in Illinois, and I anticipate Isaiah Williams and Mike Epstein will trigger issues all recreation.
Behind quarterback Brennan Armstrong and a robust offensive line, the Cavaliers boast a stable offense which is able to certainly trigger the Illini points all recreation. On protection, Virginia struggled of their opening match, permitting 6.62 yards per play.
There’s little question this recreation might be a shootout, however I believe Illinois will come out on the flawed facet of this one.
Josh Pietsch: Virginia 38, Illinois 23
After final week’s poor defensive efficiency, I don’t suppose this one’s gonna be that shut. Keith Randolph may even be out for at the least per week, which hurts what has been a stronger a part of the Illini protection so far.
Quarterback Armstrong appeared environment friendly in his first recreation of the season for the Cavaliers, which actually worries me for the Illinois secondary, who struggled a ton final week within the passing recreation towards UTSA. Virginia additionally has quite a lot of receivers that may make huge performs.
Offensively, it’ll be Sitkowski beginning at QB for Illinois for the second straight week, as Peters is a game-time resolution to even costume. Brown is lastly again at working again, however Mike Epstein is now sidelined with an damage. Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall will get his groups prepared for large video games, and I believe the Cavaliers might be ready sufficient to deal with the Illini come Saturday.
Carson Gourdie: Virginia 38, Illinois 24
Saturday’s loss to the Roadrunners positively stole some pleasure away from this season. Nevertheless, the loss doesn’t derail this system — and neither will one other loss to Virginia.
The Cavaliers are a quickly enhancing program below the previous BYU coach Mendenhall, as they might’ve been in one other bowl final season if not for COVID-19. The Cavaliers return numerous expertise this season, too, totaling over 19 gamers who began in a number of video games.
However the important thing for Illinois to compete might be decided by its secondary. Illinois was gashed by the air final weekend, and Virginia quarterback Armstrong has the expertise to duplicate that. Whereas he may be liable to turning over the ball, Armstrong has the power to place up factors, as Virginia averaged 43 factors per recreation of their 4-0 stretch late final season.
I do consider Illinois will put up some factors and play respectable ball. I’ve liked Isaiah Williams profitable transition to vast out, and I benefit from the emphasis on getting the tight ends concerned. Nevertheless, that protection will take years to rebuild.