The Illinois Fighting Illini and North Carolina Tar Heels meet up on Saturday in college football action. The game is scheduled for a 12:00 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on ESPN2. Currently the betting odds for the game have the Tar Heels favored by nearly double digits in this one.
It’s nice to see a power conference matchup in the early part of the season. Illinois just fired their head coach prior to the season for some troubling issues and it appears the Fighting Illini have circled the wagons together and picked up a couple of impressive wins. While those victories came over just Kent State and Western Illinois by a combined 96-3 score, it’s still a pair of beatdowns.
North Carolina has scored 33 points per game themselves, picking up a win over last weekend over North Carolina A&T 53-14, but still piecing things together from a 17-13 season-opening loss to South Carolina. The Tar Heels have allowed those two opponents to record an average of 333.5 yards per game so far, but the points allowed has been decent.
This will be the first meeting between these schools since the 1987 season and this yea’s contest should be entertaining. Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt has thrown five TDs and has been whipping the ball all over the yard. Illinois will probably continue to throw the football, having an experienced quarterback certainly helps.
North Carolina has a pretty good quarterback themselves in Marquise Williams. He’s thrown three touchdowns and interceptions this year and it cost his team against South Carolina, where all three of those picks occurred. Against North Carolina A&T he looked solid, completing 15-of-20 passes while throwing for two scores and running for another. The Heels should be able to move the football in this matchup against Illinois as well.
Larry Fedora’s team will be looking to continue dealing Illinois struggles on the road. The Fighting Illini have dropped 12 of their last 13 road openers by an average of better than 17 points per game. The last time Illinois won a road opener was 2007 over Syracuse.
North Carolina is a solid favorite here, but Illinois has played very well on both sides of the football through two games. The opponents were weak, but they still had to execute. This game will be more difficult, but the Fighting Illini should be able to keep this one close.
Free Pick: Illinois plus the points
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