Chatting With the Enemy: Q & A with Ricky Widmer of Writing Illini


With the Purdue Boilermakers and Illinois Fighting Illini battling this Saturday for the Purdue Cannon, we caught up with Ricky Widmer of Writing Illini for this week’s Chatting With the Enemy.

1. All reports indicate that Wes Lunt will be back behind center this week. How big will his return be for the Illini?

Huge! Reilly O’Toole is good. Don’t get me wrong! However, I see Reilly as the back-up in Champaign, and he accepts that role. Lunt’s presence in the offense will be big on Saturday. I just want to see how he moves on the knee first. If he looks comfortable on that first drive, then his return will greatly benefit the Illini.

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2. Illinois’ defense is pretty bad, but so is Purdue’s offense. What will Illinois need to do on defense to win?

I will say, the Illinois defense has gotten a lot better since a season ago. In the loss to Nebraska, I personally felt as though they looked better after the terrible second quarter where the Huskers scored their 24 points. The main thing Illinois will need to do defensively is wrap up their tackles. You don’t know how many times a question has been asked to DC Tim Banks about how the team didn’t wrap up on tackles.

3. Illinois is averaging 102.2 rushing yards per game. Can they get their running game goes against a Purdue squad that is giving up 154 yards per game?

I hope we can get our running game going. If you look at the stats, running back Josh Ferguson is having a better season than last year. There just doesn’t seem to be a “spark” like there was last season. Hopefully, Ferguson can get going against Purdue and keep the Cannon in Champaign for back-to-back season for the first time since 2002.

4. Illinois took care of their cupcake schedule, but have struggled mightily against better FBS opponents. Did you think Illinois would struggle this much this year?

Not at all. After watching the nonconference games, I wouldn’t describe them as “cupcake” games. I expected the Illini offense to blow the doors off the hinges and score tons of points (especially against Youngstown St., WKU, and Texas St.). Bottom line, we got to B1G play with three wins in nonconference play. Now, we just need three more for that bowl game. Let’s hope one of those wins comes against Purdue on Saturday.

5. What is your prediction for the game?

Illini win. Wes Lunt plays well. Mikey Dudek continues to show why he could be the B1G Freshman of the Year. The Illini defense will hold Hunt to under 100 yards. Illinois wins 35-3.