Illinois set to face high powered UNC offense

Written by Manuel DeLeon

(Photo Credit: Adrian Beecher / The SkyBoat)

After laying waste to Murray State 52-3, the Fighting Illini of Illinois (1-0) looks to improve on their opening day win Saturday when North Carolina (0-1) rolls into town. Illinois’ proved to be a balanced attack on offense amassing 287 yards rushing along with 228 passing yards by quarterback Wes Lunt, an Oklahoma State transfer. The offensive output made the debut for Head coach Lovie Smith a smooth one. North Carolina, on the other hand, comes in looking to even its record after a hard fought loss to the 18th ranked Georgia Bulldogs 33-24. This looks to be a game with plenty of offensive fireworks despite the gaudy defensive numbers put up by the Fighting Illini in week 1.

515 yards of total offense is nothing to laugh at, but that was against Murray State, this game is against another power-five team in UNC. Illinois running back Kendrick Foster, who rushed for a career-high 118 yards wants to show the Big Ten that the Fighting Illini are for real. Playing his final year of football Wes Lunt wants to build on his almost flawless week one that saw him produce a 209.0 passer efficiency rating.

North Carolina looks to get better play from their quarterback Mitch Trubisky and get their playmakers more involved. Ryan Switzer, North Carolina’s leading receiver from week one only had 52 yards. Running Backs Elijah Hood and T.J. chipped in with 72 and 80 yards on the ground respectively for the Tar Heels.

The theme for the game is “Hail to the Orange” and fans are encouraged to wear orange, but the players may be black and blue after this power five slugfest. We know what Illinois can do offensively when they are firing on all cylinders, but how will it fare against a stouter opponent in North Carolina. Offensively UNC looks to get significant help from its playmakers going against an Illinois defense who put up great numbers last week, but statically was one of the worst units in the country just last year.

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