September 3, 2009

Illinois Insider: Five Questions for Saturday

Each week, gives Tiger fans insight on the opponent from the opponent's point of view. On Thursdays throughout the season, we'll put our opponent's insider on the spot with our five questions. Here is our Q&A with Jeff Johnson of Orangeand

Missouri fans know Juice Williams and Arrelious Benn, but give me some other names they'll need to know come Saturday.

I mentioned defensive tackle Liuget, sophomore outside linebacker Ian Thomas has been very good in camp so far this fall, true freshman running back Justin Green may not be listed in the two-deep but I bet he gets plenty of playing time in that two-back set come Saturday. Senior tight end Michael Hoomanwanui is another player that has been great in camp and Schultz likes to pass to the tight end but many Illini fans still question whether Williams can consistently complete that sort of throw. Florida transfer Fayson is a game breaker type who is itching to get out there and at his press conference on Tuesday Zook just hoped Fayson wasn't too hyper to contribute come Saturday but he could be a difference maker.

Off topic a little bit, what's your reaction to the series being cancelled?

Well, since Illinois doesn't seem to be able to beat Mizzou in St. Louis and will likely get another home game after the series is over in 2010, I have no problem with the game being moved. I have been a critic of the way the Illini schedule and think they can find a better season opener instead of playing a team like Mizzou that now is just 're-loading' every year. Illinois football is so up and down (three bowl appearances since 1999) and poor scheduling I think plays a part in that. The program just has never been able to get any traction and scheduling is a part of it.

Finally, give me a breakdown of how you think the game will go and a final score

I always judge how Illinois does by how Zook is....from the spring till fall camp and onto the season, he has been cool, calm and collected just like he was before the 2007 season when Illinois surprised....last year, Illinois was hurt, knew they couldn't run the ball and leading up to this game, you could see the strain on Zook and his team all last year played like it, strained, never relaxed and made key mistakes because of that.....I think Illinois controls the tempo of the contest with their power running game, is able to score early, get into rhythm and finally win one in St. Louis. Illinois 35 Mizzou 21

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