Commentary

Week 11 college football preview

In-state rivalry features hot teams

Originally Published: November 12, 2009
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

Northwestern (6-4, 3-3) at Illinois (3-6, 2-5)
11 a.m. at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill.
TV: ESPN
Radio: WGN-AM 720
Web: ESPN360.com
What you need to know: Illinois and Northwestern are feeling pretty good about themselves going into this weekend's in-state rivalry game. After dropping six of their first seven games, the Illini are on a two-game winning streak with victories over Michigan and Minnesota. If Illinois can win out with three games remaining, it would be bowl eligible. The Wildcats achieved that status last week with an improbable 17-10 win over previously undefeated Iowa. Northwestern has won five of its last six meetings with Illinois. Both starting quarterback are banged up with Illinois' Juice Williams questionable and Northwestern's Mike Kafka as probable.
Scott Powers' prediction:Illinois 24, Northwestern 20

Missouri State (6-4) at Southern Illinois (8-1)
2 p.m. at McAndrew Stadium in Carbondale, Ill.
TV: None
Web: SIUSalukis.com
What you need to know: Southern Illinois is ranked No. 1 in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) for the first time since 2005. The Salukis can capture the Missouri Valley Football Conference championship outright with a win on Saturday. Southern Illinois has won eight straight games and is coming off a 34-15 win over South Dakota State. Deji Karim rushed for 127 yards in the win. Redshirt freshman Paul McIntosh also threw for two touchdowns. The Salukis have won their last seven meetings against Missouri State.
Powers' prediction: Southern Illinois 38, Missouri State 10

Tennessee-Martin (4-5) at Eastern Illinois (7-2)
1:30 p.m. at O'Brien Field in Charleston, Ill.
TV: None Web: OVCSports.tv What you need to know:Eastern Illinois, which is ranked No. 13 in the FCS, can win at least a share of the Ohio Valley Conference title with a win in either of its last two games. The Panthers finish the regular season out with back-to-back home games. Eastern Illinois had last week off and is currently riding a three-game winning streak. Quarterback Jake Christensen has led the Panthers' offense this season. He has completed passes to 12 different receivers.
Powers' prediction: Eastern Illinois 30, Tennessee-Martin 17

Illinois State (5-4) at Youngstown State (4-5)
12 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium in Youngstown, Ohio
TV: None
Web: GoRedbirds.com
What you need to know: Illinois State has steadily improved all season and is currently on a three-game winning streak after defeating Western Illinois 25-7 last week. In last week's win, Redbirds kicker Zach Kutch set a Missouri Valley Football Conference record by kicking six field goals. Four of the field goals were from beyond 40 yards with the longest being 48 yards. Running back Clifton Gordon also rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown against Western Illinois. Youngstown State is on a three-game losing streak.
Powers' prediction: Illinois State 27, Youngstown State 17

Western Illinois (1-8) at Northern Iowa (6-3)
6:35 p.m. at UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa
TV: None
Web: GoLeathernecks.com
What you need to know: Western Illinois is on an eight-game losing streak with Northern Iowa likely to make it a nine in a row. Northern Iowa is one of the top teams in I-AA. To open the season, the Panthers nearly knocked off Iowa, losing just 17-16. Western Illinois fell to Illinois State last week 25-7. Leathernecks quarterback Wil Lunt threw for a career-high 188 yards and a touchdown in last week's loss.
Powers' prediction: Northern Iowa 35, Western Illinois 7

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at spowers@espnchicago.com.

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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