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Illinois Illini 2010-2011 Season Preview

2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 47
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 91

The 2009 season was simply a disaster for the Illinois Illini. Winning only three games, after only 5 wins in 2008, puts head coach Ron Zook firmly on the hot seat. Losing key offensive stars Arrelious Benn (wide receiver) and Jon Asamoah (guard) could make things even worse.

The brightest spot for Illinois in 2009 was their running game. Leading rusher Mikel Leshoure rushed for 765 yards with an incredible 6.8 yards per carry. In addition, backup running back Jason Ford averaged 6.1 yards per carry. These two running backs have a lot of big play potential, and should have another strong season running behind an offensive line that returns three starters.

Illinois Illini College Football Cheerleader

There is a new quarterback in town now that Juice Williams is gone. Redshirt freshman Nathan Scheelhaase will take over leading the offense. Scheelhasse is a very mobile quarterback who rushed for over 800 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior in high school.

Jarred Fayson and Jack Ramsey are the starting receivers, but they have a lot to prove.

Illinois’ defense was terrible last year, ranking near the bottom of the national rankings in points allowed, passing yards allowed, total yards allowed and sacks. There is a lot of excitement surrounding middle linebacker Martez Wilson who was injured in the season opener and missed the rest of the season. He was a highly regarded recruit, and the Illinois defense needs him to step up. Sack leader Clay Nurse returns, along with most of the starters from a year ago. The secondary is a position of weakness, especially because of a lacking pass rush.

Illinois is going to have a hard time making a big improvement over last year’s record. If they get some breaks and some players play up to potential they can be a .500 team, but anything more than that is unlikely.

Illinois’ odds to win the Big Ten: +2000

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