Armstrong-led Virginia out to beat Illinois 2nd year in row
Virginia (1-0) at Illinois (1-1), Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Line: Illinois by 4 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Illinois leads 2-1.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
First-year coach Tony Elliott is looking to get the Cavaliers out to a 2-0 start for the second straight year and seventh time since 2000. Virginia brushed off a slow start against FCS opponent Richmond to win 34-17 last week. Illinois will try to rebound after blowing a late lead in a 23-20 loss at Indiana.
Cavaliers QB Brennan Armstrong vs. Illinois defense. Armstrong threw for 405 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-14 win over the Illini last year, and last week he became Virginia’s all-time leader in total offense as he threw for more than 200 yards and ran for more than 100 against Richmond. Illinois gave up 330 passing yards to Indiana.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Illinois: RB Chase Brown became the first Illinois running back since at least 1942 to rush 150 yards in back-to-back games to start the season. Brown ran 36 times for 199 yards against Indiana and he’s averaging 6.4 yards per carry through two games.
Virginia: Armstrong threw for 4,449 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2021 and carved up the Illini in last year’s blowup. He appears to have made a smooth adjustment to a new offensive coordinator who runs a pro-style system with the quarterback taking snaps from under center.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Cavaliers are 7-13 all-time against Big Ten teams, with road wins at Penn State in 1989 and at Indiana in 2011. ... The Illini have not beaten a current ACC opponent since a 63-21 bowl win over Virginia in 1999. Illinois beat Syracuse, then in the Big East, in 2007. ... The Cavaliers compiled 505 total yards of offense in the season-opening win over Richmond.