Contain Cubits Passing Attack
It’s hard to put into words just how bad the Illini were throwing the football a year ago (think Rob Henry from last week, but for 12 games). Which is what makes the outburst from last week rather promising. All of that can probably go into the credit column of new offensive coordinator Bill Cubit. The Bearcats have to contain that passing game to win. Erasing Nathan Scheelhasse and his receivers is probably not feasible because the Illini can't run so they are going to put the ball up a lot. What they have to do is force Scheelhasse to work underneath the defense where the Bearcats linebackers should be positioned to eliminate yards after the catch.
Take More Shots In The Passing Game
Against Purdue the Bearcats attempted just two passes longer than 20 yards. Kay completed one to Chris Moore for 51 yards, Munchie's attempt, also to Moore was broken up/dropped. The strength of the Purdue defense was in the secondary, so it made a certain amount of sense to forgo the deep game in favor of attacking the weak Purdue linebackers. For the Illini the linebackers are the strength of the defense, and the secondary is there for the taking. If Alex Chisum is good to go against the Illini expect a lot of deep shots to Chisum and Moore.
Use Ralph David Abernathy IV More Creatively
18 touches, that is what RDA4 got against the Boilermakers, but they weren't exactly the right kind of touches. The distribution was off. Abernathy had 15 carries, which is far and away the most of his career, 2 catches and 1 return. In total he picked up 91 yards. Not bad, but it could have been better. 9 of his 15 carries came between the tackles where he is very easy for a defense to defend. If the goal for Eddie Gran is to score points while creating as much consternation as possible for Tim Banks, and it probably is, then he needs to use the most dangerous weapon in his arsenal in different ways.
What are your keys to the game?