After starting the 2011-2012 football season 1-0 with a nice looking win over Arkansas State, I see no reason why the Illini shouldn’t have an easy time Saturday against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.
First, let’s pause for a moment to enjoy the fact that the SDSU mascot is a Jackrabbit. While the image up there to the left certainly is intimidating, I think the Illini will somehow be able to charge forward.
The Jackrabbits are 1-0 this season after a 29-28 win over Southern Utah last week. While this is the first time the two schools have played each other, this will be the sixth game against an FCS team for Coach Zook. Illinois is 5-0 in those games and has won all five by at least 21 points.
A win on Saturday will give the Illini a 2-0 record that they haven’t seen since 2005, Zook’s first season at Illinois.
Saturday’s game should be an easy win. Ideally, I’d like to continue that streak of beating FCS teams and blow the Jackrabbits out of the water. Since they’re not even at the same level as Arkansas State, who barely gave the Illini trouble, this should give Zook a chance to try a few new things before facing real opponents.
QB Nathan Scheelhaase should be starting again, with Jason Ford running the ball and A.J. Jenkins receiving. I’m anxious to see who else will get a shot to stand out and earn more playing time as the season progresses.
The game will air on the Big Ten Network at 11AM Central. The University of Illinois has announced plans to commemorate Sept. 11 during the game with a number of special activities, including an American flag giveaway, personalized videos from military personnel and a patriotic halftime show by the Marching Illini.
I’ll be heading down to Champaign for my first game of the season, so I expect a good showing. Word on the street the mascot, Jackie McJackrabbit as we like to call him here, will be present. Can’t wait to meet him.