Matchup to Watch: Illinois Secondary vs. C.J. Bacher



By Jim Shay

C.J. Bacher returned from a hamstring injury last weekend against Michigan and tossed two touchdowns in a 21-14 road win for the Wildcats. Much like Illinois signal caller Juice Williams, Bacher is hit-or-miss when it comes to protecting the ball.

A month ago, his two interceptions against lowly Indiana cost Northwestern the game. The Wildcats have lost two of three when Bacher throws more interceptions than touchdowns, with their only win coming in his four-pick performance against Ohio University.

It will be on the Illini defensive line to put pressure on the senior quarterback and disrupt his presence in the pocket, but more importantly on Vontae Davis and company to finish off the job for a secondary that ranks last in the Big Ten in interceptions (5).

The Northwestern coaching staff may also give backup Mike Kafka some looks behind center, in which case the Illinois defense will have to account for his mobile tendencies – a gameplan that eluded the team in allowing Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor to scramble for more than 100 yards in last weekend’s loss to the Buckeyes.