The University of Illinois, as well as the Big Ten, will be kicking off in just over an hour. What is it going to take for an Illini win?
The main key(out of the several) is take-aways. The Illini capitalized in the upset in Champaign last season over Wisconsin. There will be no Milo Eifler in the first half due to the targeting penalty that he drew in the bowl game against Cal last season. Coach Lovie Smith has emphasized takeaways all season, and it has been rebranded in Champaign to "Lovie Ball"
The second key to the game, win the time of possession battle. Wisconsin is known for holding on to the ball a lot longer than anyone else in the Big Ten, but when you have players on your squad like Melvin Gordan, and most recently Jonathan Taylor, you can pound the rock hard. Jake Hansen has caused a lot of havoc at the line of scrimmage in his tenure at Illinois, he will have to punch a few lose tonight.
The last and final key, the offense has to execute. This is Rod Smiths' time to shine with a primarily veteran offense. The offense is returning a Big Ten caliber QB in Branden Peters, the return of a healthy Mike Epstien, Josh Bhebe, and you add Luke Ford and Daniel BheBhe to an already stacked Tight End room with Daniel Barker who proved a lot last season. Keep the chains moving, convert on third down, and have long sustained drives that result in 7 points and not 3.
Stay tuned on wpxnradio.com and WPXN's Twitter page for constant updates throughout the game.