Keys to the game: Illinois vs. Iowa


Be predictable

Iowa expects Illinois to run the ball. There is really no reason for Illinois not to, especially given the Hawkeyes’ defensive performance against the run last week against Penn State. It might be expected, but the Illini running attack has shown its ability all season.

Contain Christensen

Iowa’s Jake Christensen likes to move around in the pocket and make plays with his feet. Illinois has already faced a similar quarterback in Indiana’s Kellen Lewis and should be able to pressure a very inexperienced Christensen, who was sacked five times last week by Penn State.

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    The Hawkeyes stand a chance in the game if they can shut down Rashard Mendenhall and force Juice Williams to make plays with his arm instead of in the option. While it has been said all season that this is the best way to beat Illinois, teams have not done it consistently.

    Air it out

    Wisconsin had great success passing against Illinois last week, with Tyler Donovan putting up 392 yards. If Iowa can pass the same and incorporate Albert Young effectively, especially in the redzone, the Hawkeyes should be able to give the Illini a run for their money.


    Saturday’s game in Iowa City will be the 68th meeting in the series that started in 1899. The Illini hold an overall 37-28-2 advantage and are 18-15-2 against the Illini in Iowa City, Iowa. The Hawkeyes have won seven of the last nine contests, including the last four.