November 18, 2023
|Illinois (5-5, 3-4 B1G) at Iowa (8-2, 5-2 B1G)|
|Date/Time||Saturday, Nov. 18 | 2:30 p.m. CT|
|Location||Iowa City, Iowa (Kinnick Stadium)|
|TV||FS1, Adam Alexander (play-by-play) and Devin Gardner (color analyst)|
|Radio||(Illinois): Brian Barnhart (PBP), Martin O'Donnell (analysis), Michael Martin (sidelines) & Steve Kelly (Pre/HT/Post)
The broadcast can be heard live on TuneIn online radio, SiriusXM (389), SiriusXM App, and at FightingIllini.com.
|Series Notes:||Illinois leads the all-time series 39-37-2. Iowa leads 20-18-2 in games located in Iowa City and have won the last seven games inside Kinnick Stadium.|
The Illini (5-5, 3-4 in the Big Ten) head to Iowa City as winners of 3 of their last 4 games needing one more win to become bowl eligible. If the Illini can win out versus Iowa and Northwestern, they would need some help from other B1G teams and a second Iowa loss next week versus Nebraska to have a small chance at representing the Big Ten West in the conference championship game.
The Illini have been propelled to victory the last two weeks with game winning passes from John Paddock to Isaiah Williams to close out Illini victories in both games. Paddock replaced Luke Altmyer for the final drive of the Minnesota game and started the game against Indiana. Altmyer has been cleared for play against Iowa and Illini head coach Bret Bielema has not formally declared a starter for today's game. The debate rages amongst Illini fans whether he should go with the hot hand, John Paddock or if Luke Altmyer will take back the reins of the Illini offense.
The choice is not as easy as one might think with Paddock going for 27 of 39 with 592 yards with 5 touchdowns and 1 interception since Altmyer's injury. At the same time, Luke Altmyer is fourth in the Big Ten in total offense (240.6 yards per game) behind Maryland's Tagovailoa, Ohio State's McCord and Michigan's McCarthy. In Altmyer's last six games, he has completed 65.4 percent of his passes for 1312 yards, 10 touchdowns through the air and only 3 interceptions. With more mobility, Iowa has to be prepared to contain Altmyer on the ground and practicing to play against both quarterbacks will be incumbent upon the Hawkeyes entering this game.
Iowa (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten), also winners of back-to-back games, has clinched at least a share of the Big Ten West title and can clinch a trip to Indianapolis by winning one of its remaining two games against Illinois (Nov. 18) or Nebraska (Nov. 24). The Hawkeyes defense has been one of the best in the nation, ranking third in the nation in scoring defense and in the top 10 in nearly every significant defensive category.
Turnovers will be a key to the game as Iowa's offense is one of the worst in the country. Iowa averages 122 yards per game passing (ranked 127 out of 130 nationally), 121 yards per game rushing (ranked 102 out of 130 nationally) and 243 yards per game in total (ranked 130 out of 130 nationally). As one might think, Iowa struggles to score as well averaging 18.8 points per game (ranked 120 out of 130 nationally). If the Illini can avoid giving the Iowa offense additional chances to score - and most particularly avoiding turnovers in Illini territory, the Illini should be able to keep the game close.
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