Crystal Ball Week 7

Spring practice is now a memory and fans are counting down until camp opens up in August. In our Spartan Digest Crystal Ball the Spartans are sitting with a record of 6-0 as Illinois heads into East Lansing. How does Spartan Digest see this contest ending up? We look into our crystal ball.

Illinois (Sat. Oct 16, 2010) Spartan Stadium

2009 Record: 3-9 BIG TEN 2-6

Last Game Against MSU: 2009 Score: 24-14, Spartan Win

Another Big Ten opponent, another Big Ten coach who is on the hot seat to turn things around. Ron Zook is on the hot seat just as Rich Rodriguez was the week before. Coming into East Lansing, Zook and the Illini will have already battled Ohio State and Penn State setting up for a possible 3-loss start in Big Ten play and his future sealed.

Last season saw a team struggling on both sides of the ball and Illini fans hope that will change with the hiring of two new coordinators. There are athletes on the roster, but they've not been able to put anything together the past two seasons to really make a difference.

On offense there will be questions at the quarterback position as Nathan Scheelhaase and Jacob Charest look to win the battle. While Scheelhaase looks to be the leader going into the season, by the time the Illini reach East Lansing anyone could be taking snaps behind center.

But while there will be questions at quarterback, running Mike LeShoure are being counted on to give the offense some balance. With three returning starter on the offensive line, things could be solid at times offensively.

On defense Zook looks to Vic Koenning to get the Illini defense back on track. The return of middle linebacker Martez Wilson should help as Ian Thomas will be able to move back outside. End Clay Nurse can give some pressure if Corey Liuget plays the way many feel he can. But the secondary has many questions after last season's performance.

The Illini should be improved, but if they get off to a poor start, the wheels could fall off like many felt they did last season. Crystal Ball Prediction: Spartans Win – 27 - 14.

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