Keys to the game: Illinois vs. Missouri

Missouri

Spread the field: Missouri doesn’t have too much to surprise the Illini with. Its offensive philosophy is to spread the field and create mismatches. While the Illini have the speed and ability to keep up with Missouri to a point, the Tigers have more than enough offense to put things out of reach.

Make the Illini prove themselves: The Illini do have the potential to be a great offense, but they are still trying to “get a feel for where they are as a football team,” as Zook said on Wednesday. The Illini still aren’t sure how their new offense will operate and may be susceptible to pressure and misdirection that can cause turnovers.

Illinois

Control the clock; don’t get fancy: Rashard Mendenhall is going to have to prove that he has gotten over his sporadic fumbling problem from last year and that he can help the Illini lead the Big Ten in rushing again this year as a feature back. When the Illini do pass, look to throw in the direction of true freshman cornerback Carl Gettis. Gettis has played well in camp, but he is a converted running back that can be exploited.

Chase Chase: The Missouri quarterback and tight end are going to see a lot of action in the game. The Illini can minimize their role in the game by forcing QB Chase Daniel to make poor plays. While they may not be able contain the vaunted Missouri offense, they can do their best to contain it by letting the experienced defensive line and linebacking corps prove they can dominate as the unit said it is ready to do.