SOC - Charlotte
You have currently viewed 1 story this month.
IlliniBoard now offers two free stories per month, for more please subscribe.
That's the coach we're facing tomorrow. The one wearing the mascot head. When Charlotte wins a home game, they celebrate in their locker room with "Club Lit". I guess I'll start here by saying that I would very much appreciate not having to watch the Charlotte players move Club Lit to the southeast corner of the stadium tomorrow.
I'll just start with my concerns here. Out with it: I'm worried about the upcoming turnover game. We're going to have a turnover game. It's inevitable. No one avoids the turnover game. It just happens. Especially in the first year of a new scheme while the players are all trying to get on the same page. Ever since I saw the rain in the forecast, I've been worried about this week being the turnover game.
Then I see the Iowa-Maryland score tonight and I'm all "whuuuut?" so I look up the boxscore and see the turnovers: Maryland 7, Iowa 0. Well there you go. Now I'm even more worried.
Here's the main reason I'm concerned that it's this week: we've seen some turnover fortune in these first five games. Opponents have fumbled 8 times and we've recovered 5 of them (with one of the fumble recoveries returned for a touchdown). We've fumbled 7 times and recovered 4 of them (with one of the fumble recoveries "returned" for a touchdown). Grabbing 9 of 15 fumbles on the ground is a little bit of fortune. By the end of the year, if there are 36 total fumbles during Illini games, chances are we'll have recovered right around half of them. A regression to the mean is likely coming.
We've also only thrown two interceptions. We've thrown more than that - UTSA flat-out dropped two of them - but there have only been two interceptions through five games. More interceptions are coming.
And that's not some "we suck so we're going to turn the ball over". I'm just saying that turnover always happen. Iowa rode turnovers to wins against Iowa State and Maryland, but their turn is coming. Everyone has to have That Game.
Is it tomorrow for us? We're "due", and it's supposed to be wet (but more "intermittent sprinkles" wet, not "downpour" wet). When the turnover game happens, you have to have the offense to overcome it. Fine, we spotted them a 21-3 lead because of a fumble and a pick six, so now we're going to have to crank up the offense to get back in this. Do we have the offense to do something like that?
Another thought just hit me. What if Charlotte is due for a turnover game? Let me look up their stats real quick.
LOLOL so Charlotte is due for a turnover game. They've fumbled 8 times and recovered 6 of them. They've also forced 8 fumbles and recovered 4. So while we've grabbed 9 of 15, they've grabbed 10 of 16. Both are due for a regression to the mean.
Interceptions? Exactly the same - only two. I have no idea if they've had opponents drop multiple interceptions, but I'm going to just pretend that they have. So Charlotte is in the same boat. They're going to have a game soon where they fumble four times and recover none of them. MAYBE TOMORROW.
If it's just a game that's straight-up with no turnovers, this should be one we win going away. Charlotte can be run upon, and with Chase Brown back, this should be a game where we ESTABLISH IT. McCray and Brown over and over until they break. They have a solid QB, and he should be able to move the ball through the air against us, but our run game - especially if it rains - should be the deciding factor. ESTABLISH IT.
You know what? I have the perfect plan for tomorrow. I'll even make it my prediction and then go to bed.
What if we have a -2 turnover game and still win comfortably? Man, that would be perfect. That's now what I want to happen. I want to see us have that turnover game and still win going away. The old "this would have been a 48-10 game but the turnovers kept it too close for comfort so Illinois only won 34-20" game.
OK, now that's exactly what I want to see. And what I'm going to predict.
Illinois 34, Charlotte 20