Penn St.-Michigan, Northwestern-Minnesota Highlight Vegas Big Ten Predictions Week 7

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Saturday Blitz Vegas Big Ten Predictions Week 7

Illinois Fighting Illini at Wisconsin Badgers

Line: Wisconsin by 26.5

Here’s an intriguing match-up between a Big Ten team that was hoping for a bowl game this year and another hoping for a championship. Both teams lost games they shouldn’t have last week and desperately need a rebound. Tim Beckman’s Illinois Fighting Illini are failing him again on defense, this time allowing Purdue, who was supposed to be the worst team in the conference, to torch them. Against Wisconsin, that defense has got to improve somewhat. But then the offense has to do its part. Unfortunately, the team went as quarterback Wes Lunt went, and now that he’s out with a broken leg, the entire game depends on how well Rylie O’Toole can play as his replacement.

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Player Spotlight: Illinois DT Jer'Zhan Newton
Player Spotlight: Illinois DT Jer'Zhan Newton /

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  • Wisconsin, meanwhile, never should have lost to Northwestern, but this team simply has no passing game to speak of. Whomever is starting at quarterback, they are still incredibly one-dimensional, and it doesn’t look like it’s getting any better. So instead of risking anything, against a weak Illinois defense, they should just go back to Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement running behind that massive offensive line. Why go to anything else? Stick to the ground game, and on defense they should pressure O’Toole, who has barely completed over 50 percent of his passes to date. Those two things should be enough for a win.

    Prediction

    Wisconsin won’t have any trouble in this one. Fortunately, the Fighting Illini don’t have any defense that could stop Wisconsin in any fashion, but this defense especially can’t stop the Wisconsin run game. Even if it knows the Badgers are running the ball every play, it won’t matter. They come out with an easy win.

    Wisconsin: 38 Illinois: 17

    Continue to Next Slide for Michigan State-Purdue