Go 'Under' the Total in Illinois vs. Iowa College Football Pick

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 1:57 PM GMT

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015 1:57 PM GMT

Two of the biggest surprises in the Big Ten thus far are definitely Iowa & Illinois as they are  a combined 9-1 entering Saturday's game. The Hawkeyes are 11-point odds favorites with a total of 44.

Cubit Earning Full-Time Job?
Easily the two hottest coaching seats in the Big Ten entering the 2015 were with Tim Beckman at Illinois and Kirk Ferentz at Iowa. Well, Beckman didn't even make it to the season. He was fired just one week before the season begin amid allegations of influencing medical decision and pressuring guys to play hurt. Former offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic initially made allegations on Twitter in May, leading to the university's launch of an external review. Frankly, firing Beckman was way overdue as he seemed to continually embarrass himself or the school. And it's not like the team was winning much.

The Illini promoted offensive coordinator Bill Cubit to the top job -- and if Illinois (4-1) keeps winning, he might actually keep it. He has head coaching experience at Western Michigan. You had heard some rumors that Illinois might have interest in former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano.

Illinois comes off one of the program's best wins in a few years, 14-13 at home over Nebraska on Saturday. Wes Lunt hit receiver Geronimo Allison on a 1-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds left. Taylor Zalewski's extra point was then the winner. The Illini overcame two missed field goals by Zalewski, four early trips into the red zone that produced zero points and a 13-0 fourth-quarter deficit. It was Illinois' first win over the Huskers since 1924.

Top Illini running back Josh Ferguson left that game in the first quarter with an injury and is doubtful for Iowa. He has rushed for 381 yards and three touchdowns on 71 carries, an excellent 5.4 yards per carry. Freshman Ke’Shawn Vaughn played well when against  the Huskers went Ferguson left, carrying 24 times for 98 yards. Iowa ranks No. 33 nationally in total defense, No. 78 against the pass and No. 13 against the run (84.4 ypg).

The Illini are 3-2 against the spread on college football odds this season and 1-4 'over/under.'

 

Back Among The Ranked
Ferentz was under pressure to win this season because the Hawkeyes hadn't won double-digit games since 2009, when he got a huge extension, and had dropped at least five contests each season -- and lost three straight bowl games. Now the Hawkeyes (5-1) are No. 22 in the latest Associated Press poll. It's the first time since 2010 that Iowa is ranked.

Iowa had an even more impressive win than Illinois last week, going to Wisconsin and upsetting the No. 19 Badgers 10-6. With that win and how mediocre Nebraska clearly is, the Hawkeyes might be the team to beat in the very weak Big Ten West Division.

Running back Jordan Canzeri was the star against Wisconsin, running a career-high 26 times for 125 yards -- his third straight 100-yard game. Canzeri now has 441 rushing yards on 89 attempts with eight touchdowns. He has never topped 500 yards in a season. Iowa scored 10 points off four Badger turnovers. Quarterback C.J. Beathard was just 9-for-21 for just 77 yards but improved to 6-0 as a college starter. The Badgers were held to 86 rushing yards on 34 carries --2.5 yards per carry, with a long of 11.

The win moved Iowa to 5-0 for the first time since 2009, and the victory was the program's first over a ranked opponent since 2011 and the first on the road since at Michigan in 2010. Iowa's 10 points were the fewest by any team to win at Wisconsin since the Hawkeyes scored 10 points in a 10-6 victory in 1991. It was the first time Iowa won without scoring in the second half since beating Minnesota 21-16 on Nov. 10, 2007. The last time Iowa held a Big Ten opponent without a touchdown was in 2010, a 24-3 win over No. 20 Penn State. Iowa has not allowed a rushing touchdown this season.

Iowa is 4-1 ATS on college football picks this season and 2-2-1 O/U.

 

Last Meeting
Iowa won at Illinois 30-14 last year -- the Hawkeyes' final win of the year. Mark Weisman ran for 134 yards and the Hawkeyes totaled 304 yards on the ground. Jake Rudock, who is now starting at Michigan, was 14-for-21 for 210 yards and two scores. Lunt was 14-for-25 for 102 yards and one score for the Illini. Illinois has not played in Iowa City since a 10-6 Hawkeye win in 2007. Illinois holds an 18-16-2 advantage in games played at Iowa.

NCAAF Free Picks: Certainly the 'Under.' Give the points. Illinois is 3-14 ATS in its past 17 road games. Iowa is 5-2 ATS in its past seven at home. The 'Under' is 5-0-1 in the past six meetings.

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