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College Football: Breaking Down the Illinois Fighting Illini
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11 Nov 2017 08:41 AM EST

-by Alex Compton, Contributing Writer; Image: Illinois quarterback Jeff George Jr. (Image Source: Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Bloomington, IN—Here’s a breakdown of the Illinois Fighting Illini heading into Week 11:

Head Coach: Lovie Smith

Overall: 5-16 Second Year

At Illinois 5-16 (2-13)

Bowl Appearances at Illinois: 0

2017 Record: 2-7 Last Game: Lost 29-10 at Purdue

Bowl Appearances Since 2000: 5 (2-3)

Mascot: Fighting Illini

Colors: Orange and Blue

Outfitter: Nike

National Titles: 4

Conference Titles: 15

Heisman Winners: 0

1. ILLINOIS IS THE WORST TEAM IN THE BIG TEN

Don’t look now, but Rutgers is 3-3 in the Big Ten. Purdue is vastly improved, and Minnesota already beat Illinois this season. Sitting at 2-7 with a close win over Ball State and a win over Brohm-less Western Kentucky, Illinois has since lost seven in a row and puts the Lovie Smith era in a worse place than many thought possible in year two. Constant quarterback shuffling has led to redshirt freshman Cam Thomas taking over as the starter, and he has really not been solid so far. As a dual threat QB he shows flashes, but due to injury the Illini are going back to Jeff George, Jr. They’ve started three different quarterbacks, mostly by choice this season.

2. ILLINOIS IS SO YOUNG

The future could be bright for the Illini if Smith could recruit better, but the young talent they have on the team right now is notable. They have started the most freshman in the history of their program (one of the oldest in the country) and as of now could start six freshmen on offense against IU on Saturday. Four offensive linemen, as well as, receivers Ricky Smalling and Carmoni Green would make up the contingent for U of I on Saturday. They will likely be around for a number of years in the Big Ten. On defense, it is much of the same. Longtime IU target Bobby Roundtree has impressed from his first day on campus for Illinois and has been incredibly productive in the Big Ten regardless of what class he’s in. Illinois at one point in the season had played the most-true freshman in the country, so they are a really, really young team that currently doesn’t have enough talent to pose a threat in the Big Ten west.  

To read more from Sammy Jacobs and his staff at HoosierHuddle.com, click here

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