Purdue at Illinois - 11/12/22 College Football Picks and Prediction

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The Purdue Boilermakers will head to Champaign and take on the Illinois Fighting Illini from Memorial Stadium on ESPN2. Separated 90 minutes apart, Purdue and Illinois face off for the Purdue Cannon and have competed in one of the older rivalries in college football, dating back to 1890. Purdue leads the all-time series 46-45-6 after winning the last two meetings.

Purdue is 5-4 after losing to Iowa at home in Week 10. Rain was in the forecast, which was right up the Hawkeyes' alley. Mother Nature limited Purdue’s air attack, and the Iowa defense handled the rest, silencing the Boilermakers, 24-3. Purdue is averaging 29.4 points per game, while passing for 298.6 yards per game (28th) and rushing for 125.4 yards per game (194th). The Purdue defense is allowing 25.6 points per game.

Aidan O’Connell was dealt two of the nastiest defenses in the conference in Iowa and Wisonsin, and he’ll have to complete the trifecta this weekend with Illinois. The veteran quarterback has thrown five picks over the past two games, and he can’t be that sloppy versus an Illini team that will make him pay. Godspeed, and best of luck. O’Connell has thrown for 2,438 passing yards with 15 touchdowns to ten interceptions through nine starts. 

Devin Mockobee has taken the lead role in the backfield since the start of conference play, and he’s churned out three 100-yard performances, including a career-high 178 yards in win over Nebraska. Mockobee leads Purdue with 626 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Iowa transfer Charlie Jones has stepped into the Rondale Moore, David Bell role, and absolutely thrived. The senior receiver has tripled his numbers from his lone season in the pedestrian Iowa offense, and he leads the country in receptions (83) and the Big Ten in receiving yards (944) and touchdowns (9) this season.

Illinois dropped to 7-2 after losing to Michigan State at home in Week 10. The Fighting Illini regressed a bit last weekend when Sparty came to town, as they uncharacteristically gave up a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter that’d go out to be the deciding factor. Illinois scores 32.9 points per game, while passing for 220.1 yards per game (161st), and rushing for 192.9 ypg (63rd).

Tommy DeVito changed oranges and has found success in Champaign. The former Syracuse quarterback has got Illinois in position to make a trip to the Big Ten title game, he’ll have to shake off last week’s lost though. With Michigan coming to town next week, the senior QB has to get Illinois back in the win column here. DeVito has thrown for 1,881 passing yards with 14 touchdowns to two interceptions through nine starts.

Chase Brown has been one of the best running backs in the country, and he’s carried this offense throughout the season. Brown has flawlessly eclipsed the 150-yard mark in seven of nine games this year, and he’s going to give a vulnerable Purdue defense a lot of trouble. Brown leads the FBS with 1,344 rushing yards and he’s scored eight touchdowns (5 rush, 3 rec). When Illinois passes the football, they’ve looked Isaiah Williams’ way often. The sophomore from St. Louis surpassed his 2021 total last weekend with a strong 98-yard, two-score performance, and he leads Illinois in receptions (61) and receiving yards (537).

Purdue is 3-6 against the spread this season, with a 2-2 record on the road. Illinois is 6-3 against the spread this season, with a 4-2 record at home. Illinois is 8-1-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The Under is 4-0-1 in Illinois' last 5 home games.

The Big Ten’s most disciplined team will face its’ most defiant one this weekend in a battle that could have conference championship implications. How will Purdue’s Air Raid versus Illinois’ stiff defense? 

You want to trust the coaching in a matchup that isn’t necessarily high stakes, but more so high pressure. Illinois has the slimmest of leads atop the Big West standings, and with four teams just one game back of them, including Purdue, there’s got to be a sense of urgency within the Illini sidelines Saturday. They’ve got home field, their sound defense, and still have their momentum to an extent.

Bret Bielema will have his guys ready and focused, and with last week’s game behind them, they can get back to doing what they do best, and that’s smashmouth football. Purdue can’t match the physicality here, and there’s a chance they get pummeled by an angry unit fresh off of their first loss in two months. A trip to the Big House is looming, and the Illini can’t let this trip to the Big Ten title game slip away.

Take Illinois’ spread here, and don’t shy away from the Big Ten under with one of the best defenses in the country battling on home turf to defend their spot at the top of the standings.

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

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