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Northwestern vs. Illinois pregame notes


Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

- This game is not only for the LOLHAT, but it's also for bowl eligibility. What fun!

- It's a gorgeous day out. The sun is shining and while it's a little bit cold, it's much warmer than it has been. There's a pretty strong wind coming out of the south.

- Northwestern is going with its purple helmets, purple jerseys and white pants. Illinois has white helmets, white jerseys and orange pants.

- Everyone on Northwestern is injured. Okay not really, but this injury list is insane:

It's particularly bad in the secondary, where the Wildcats are nearly out of players. According to the depth chart, if Nick VanHoose can't go, the starting corners would be Matt Harris and Jarrell Williams, but last week when Marcus McShepard (already a backup) went out, safety Kyle Queiro came down to play corner. The problem is, Godwin Igwebuike is also out, so NU wouldn't have enough corners unless they sent Jimmy Hall up there to play his former position.

But there may be good news. Kyle Prater and Nick VanHoose are both out there warming up. So maybe there will be some semblance of a passing game and no "chaos scenario" in the secondary.

- There will probably not be anyone here. Sun-Times writer Seth Gruen (an Illinois alum) claims there will be a lot of Illinois students hoping to see their team become bowl eligible. I would say that seems extraordinarily unlikely.

- Zack Oliver will get the start for NU, but we should see a decent amount of Matt Alviti, too. Expect a heavy workload for Justin Jackson, who could potentially pass Venric Mark's yardage total in 2012 with a good final two games (if NU makes a bowl, of course).