- Fighting Illini are 1-4 ATS last 5 overall
- Fighting Illini are 1-4 ATS last 5 in September
- Cavaliers are 6-1 ATS last 7 overall
- Cavaliers are 4-0 ATS last 4 as a favorite
The Illinois Fighting Illini thought they had built some momentum with a 30-22 upset over Nebraska in their season opener. All of that was washed down the drain in a 37-30 loss at home to UTSA last week and now Bret Bielema finds his team +10.5 underdogs in a visit to face the Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday. UVA looked great in a 43-0 win over William & Mary, but the Illini are a big step up in quality of competition here.
Illinois Fighting Illini vs Virginia Cavaliers Schedule
- Where: David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, Virginia
- When: Saturday, September 11, 11:00AM ET
- How to Watch: ACCN
Illinois vs Virginia Odds
Illinois Needs a Run Defense
Even in the win over Nebraska two weeks ago it was not a stellar showing for the Illini defense. Cornhusker QB Adrian Martinez tallied 111 yards on 17 carries en route to a 343 all-purpose yard day. The weakness on that side of the ball continued last week, with UTSA’s Sincere McCormick running for 117 yards with Brenden Brady adding 67 yards on just 11 carries with 2 TD.
Now the Illinois defensive unit is up against a Virginia squad that compiled 545 yards of offense last week. Sure the Cavs played an FCS team, but there’s nothing that the Illini have done the past two weeks to make you think they can stop UVA.
For all their defensive concerns, Illinois isn’t exactly set on offense either. Starting QB Brandon Peters hurt his shoulder after throwing just 4 passes against Nebraska, and although backup Art Sitkowski went 12/15 vs. the Cornhuskers he was just 22 of 42 last week albeit with 3 TDs. Illinois’ big problem vs. UTSA was Reggie Love being their leading rusher with just 11 carries for 39 yards.
Another Big Day For Armstrong?
Illinois has been blitzed by opposing QBs the past two weeks, with Martinez having 343 all-purpose yards in week 1 and UTSA’s Frank Harris throwing for 280, running for 33, and scoring 2 TDs last week. That has UVA’s Brennan Armstrong licking his chops for this matchup after throwing for 339 and 2 TD while also running for a couple more in the season opener.
The Virginia offense picked up where they left off in the 43-0 win over William & Mary. The Cavaliers started 2020 off slow going 1-4, but really picked up stride finishing the regular season 4-1 while putting up 40+ in three of those. What was especially hopeful for UVA in their season opener last week was a running game that had four players tally at least 30 yards.
We won’t know much about the Cavaliers defense until after Saturday’s game, as William & Mary posted just 94 yards rushing and 89 through the air last week. Illinois will provide a much bigger test.
Outcome & Pick
Who will win today’s NCAAF game:
This line is UVA -10.5 which seems like a lot in a Big Ten vs. ACC matchup. The Illini were bowled over at home last week by the University of Texas-San Antonio, but we don’t know much about Virginia after beating up on William & Mary last week. That makes it too many points to give.
Illinois 31 – UVA 34
- Illinois +10.5