Western Kentucky shows flashes of 2012 Louisiana Tech


Every week, The Daily Illini football staff makes predictions for five college football games. Some of us do so with more accuracy than others. But we are always sure to include the Illinois game in those five picks.

Two years ago, I sat in Legends on game day eating a late lunch with my family trying to explain to my dad why I thought Louisiana Tech would beat Illinois.

That year, Louisiana Tech ran an air raid offense that put up more than 50 points in each of its first two games. Illinois was 2-1, but had drubbed an FCS opponent and been whipped by an average Arizona State team.

The game was at night and my family planned to leave early if the game wasn’t close so they could get a head start on the drive home.

“Well,” I told my family. “If it’s going to be lopsided, it’s going to be lopsided in favor of Louisiana Tech.”

The story goes that as soon as I left the restaurant to go cover the game, my dad proceeded to tell the rest of my family why I was crazy and why my prediction was wrong.

My family ended up staying the entire game, but not because it was close and not because Illinois was winning. Louisiana Tech won 52-24 and I got to gloat for a while about picking that game right.

So this week, Illinois draws a Western Kentucky team that put up more than 700 yards of offense in a 59-31 opening win over Bowling Green.

When asked who Western Kentucky resembles, Illinois defensive coordinator Tim Banks said: “Louisiana Tech comes to mind.”

Uh oh.

Hilltopper quarterback Brandon Doughty threw for 569 yards and six touchdowns against a team that won 10 games and the MAC championship. I think many would agree with me that a good MAC team is about equal to Illinois the past few years.

This game should send up red flags for Illinois fans.

Five hundred and sixty-nine yards. Are you kidding me? That’s nearly half of Nathan Scheelhaase’s 2012 season total.

This dude plays Madden on Rookie difficulty level, while the rest of us are stuck on All-Madden. Was Bowling Green playing with 10 defenders? Is anyone sure Bowling Green was even on the field?

OK, the film proves Bowling Green was on the field. It also proves Western Kentucky can score. Illinois has an untested secondary that was pretty bad a year ago. The Hilltoppers are going to score a lot of points. It’s going to come down to whether Illinois’ offense can keep up with Western Kentucky’s.

So call me crazy if you’d like, Dad. I’m picking Illinois in this one.

Sean is a senior in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @sean_hammond.