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Pete Ruden, Action Network College Football Editor

Iowa +3.5

There’s no denying that Illinois running back Chase Brown is one of the best backs in the country. He leads the nation with 733 yards rushing and hasn’t been held under 100 yards once this season.

However, the Hawkeyes held Michigan’s Blake Corum — a potential Heisman dark horse — to his lowest yards-per-carry output of the season, and that was against a better offensive line than what Iowa will face this week.

There were clear cracks in both Wisconsin’s offense and Wisconsin’s defense when the Illini beat the Badgers by 24 last week. Iowa doesn’t have those same cracks in its defense, though.

If the Hawkeyes can contain Brown at least a little bit, Illinois doesn’t have a strong enough passing game to beat Iowa’s secondary. In fact, the Hawkeyes’ defensive backs rank second nationally in PFF coverage grade and 11th in Defensive Passing Success Rate.

Iowa will lean on Tory Taylor once again to win the field position battle. That should help the Hawkeyes put up enough points to cover against what has been a vaunted Illinois defense thus far.

Under 35.5

Just like most weeks, this is another classic “under” game for Iowa. Both defenses hold huge advantages over the opposing offenses. 

Illinois ranks top-10 in Defensive Rushing Success Rate, Defensive Passing Success Rate, Havoc and Defensive Finishing Drives. This unit absolutely bottled up Wisconsin’s run game last week, holding the Badgers to just two total yards rushing. Star Badger back Braelon Allen recorded just two yards on eight carries.

That’s going to be trouble for Iowa. Although the Hawkeyes have improved over the last couple of weeks, they still rank in the bottom 15 of nearly every meaningful category. 

Meanwhile, the Illini offense ranks outside the top 70 in Rushing Success Rate, Passing Success Rate, Finishing Drives and Havoc Allowed.

Brown will likely have a solid day on the ground, just as Corum did for Michigan last week. But given Iowa’s top-five rankings in tackling and coverage, per PFF, the Illini won’t have a way to hit big plays consistently.

Plus, both teams run the ball over 55% of the time, which will keep the clock running early and often.

Lock of the Week: TCU -7 vs. Kansas

TCU enters this game on Cloud Nine after a 55-24 demolition of Oklahoma last week. On the other side, Kansas was fortunate to escape Iowa State with a victory after the Cyclones missed three field goals, including a potential game-tying kick in the final seconds.

The Jayhawks amassed only 213 total yards of offense against Iowa State, which outgained Kansas by 100 yards. It seems like teams are finally starting to figure out this Jalon Daniels-led offense, which bodes well for TCU defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Horned Frogs boast one of the best rushing attacks in the nation. Its ground game that ranks 11th in Rushing Success Rate and 32nd in Offensive Line Yards should feast on a Kansas defense that comes in outside the top 75 in both categories.

The Horned Frogs also own a top-10 offense in terms of the explosive rush and pass.