With an Illinois (2014: 6-7, 3-5 B1G) team fresh off a head coaching change less than a week ago, Kent State (2014: 2-9, 1-6 MAC) looks to seize the opportunity and come back to Ohio with their biggest win in the Paul Haynes-era.
Illinois' 2014 head coach, Tim Beckman was axed back on August 28 for hiding injuries from the medical staff and attempting to control medical decisions. The Fighting Illini have since put former offensive coordinator Bill Cubit in as the team's interim head coach. Cubit takes control of an Illinois side that finished 6-7 a season ago, and lost in the Heart of Dallas Bowl to Louisiana Tech 35-18. Wes Lunt returns at quarterback, throwing for over 1700 yards and just three picks on 241 attempts last season. For our full preview on Illinois, click here.
Things are a bit different for Kent State. The Golden Flashes are hoping 2015 is the year they achieve consistency under Haynes, and a win at a Big Ten school would pay dividends down the road. Last season, the Flashes only had two wins, one against Army and the other versus Akron in the Wagon Wheel game. With experience growing on defense, KSU could very well keep this one close and maybe even squeak out the win. Colin Reardon is once again the starter, throwing for nearly 2500 yards on 228 completions.
Quick Game Info
Game time, date: Friday, September 4 at 7 p.m.
Location: Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois
TV: Game will be live on the Big Ten Network
Online streaming: This game will be live on the BTN2GO app, as well as at the Big Ten Network's website. Click here to watch live with a valid cable subscription.
Radio: Kent State fans can hear the game on WHLO 640 AM or online by clicking here.
Odds: Most places have Illinois by either -14 or -14.5. For a full list of NCAAF odds click here.
Full game preview: For our full game preview, click here.
Players to Watch
Colin Reardon (QB, KSU)- Reardon is back as Kent State's starter after setting a school-record for completions in a season with 228 completions on 400 attempts. He also threw for 2466 yards in 2014.
Trayion Durham (RB, KSU)- Durham was redshirtted last season, but returns as a fifth-year senior with over 2,750 career yards.
Nick Holley (RB, KSU)- Holley was Kent State's premier running back last season, running for 516 yards on 125 carries, including a 95-yard performance versus Akron, but will now likely be behind Durham, who returns after missing all of last season.
Wes Lunt (QB, ILL)- Lunt had an up-and-down 2015, but finished with over 1700 passing yards and 14 touchdowns in 2014.
Geronimo Allison (WR, ILL)- The Fighting Illini have lost star wide out Mike Dudek to injury, so Allison will likely be one of Lunt's favorite targets in this one.