Two pass-heavy offenses will collide when Cincinnati comes to Champaign

Nathan Scheelhaase vs. Cincinnati secondary

Scheelhaase had a career day last week, throwing for 416 yards. That’s more than 30 percent of his total 2012 passing yards. Will he continue, and be leaned upon, to carry this team forward if the running game falters again? Purdue managed 161 yards through the air. A big play to start the game Saturday will no doubt help boost his and the offense’s confidence. Bearcats junior safety Adrian Witty is slowly making a name for himself, running back an interception for a touchdown against Purdue. Scheelhaase must limit turnovers against this defense.

Illinois running backs vs. Cincinnati defense

Josh Ferguson rushed for a measly 49 yards, while six other Illini combined for a total gain of zero. The team will need better balance but that may be hard to come by after Cincinnati allowed 65 rushing yards to Purdue. Donovonn Young and Josh Ferguson managed some better runs after halftime, but they need to hit the holes early.

Illinois defense vs. Cincinnati quarterbacks

Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville has said that the quarterback job is still open between seniors Munchie Legaux and Brendon Kay. Legaux is more of a dual threat while Kay is a prototypical pocket passer. Illinois head coach Tim Beckman said it is difficult to prepare for two different playing styles. Either way, the spotlight will be on the Illini defense after the unit gave up 34 points to FCS opponent Southern Illinois. Against Purdue, the Bearcats put up 425 total yards of offense. The Bearcats also turned the ball over three times last week. Illinois will have to win this battle to better its chances.