Less than 48 hours before the Illinois – Southern Illinois game on Saturday night, Writing Illini keeps you updated on the latest news surrounding both programs in its weekly crash course.
Ranked second in the Football Championship Subdivision, Southern Illinois is hardly some slouch team for the Illini (0-1) to get better against after dropping a 10-point lead and losing to Missouri last weekend. The Salukis (1-0) have been solid for quite a few seasons now so the Illini better be ready to come out and play.
With that said, Illinois was better than expected last week and should be fine (right?) if it comes out with the same serious approach that it had in the first half against Missouri.
Here are some key pieces to look at before the SIU-UI game.
→ ILLINOIS – SOUTHERN ILLINOIS GAME NOTES (COURTESY OF UI DIA)
What Illinois Did Last Week
There’s no need to relive the gory details of last week’s 23-13 loss to Missouri, but if you want to, check out our game balls, catcalls and downfalls, or scroll all the way to the bottom of the page for a collection of postgame Illini-Mizzou stories.
What Southern Illinois Did Last Week
The Salukis opened its new Saluki Stadium in grand style last Thursday, pounding NAIA-school Quincy 70-7. Running back Lucien Walker ran for three touchdowns for the Salukis.
Get to know the Salukis beyond our Fighting the Fighting Illini preview with these stories, including an interesting one about Walker.
ILLINI PLAYER NEWS
Of course, defensive lineman Michael Buchanan’s DUI arrest and indefinite suspension was the biggest news this week among the Illini players. Here’s a compilation of stories that you may have missed.
#2 Nathan Scheelhaase (Quarterback)
After looking solid at times against Missouri but turning the ball over to the Tigers four times during last week’s loss, Scheelhaase is obviously an Illini player worth watching Saturday night.
#5 Steve Hull (Defensive Back)
Just recently moving from wide receiver to defensive back following a plethora of injuries in the Illini secondary, the redshirt freshman Hull had a very impressive game against Missouri, registering seven tackles.
#8 A.J. Jenkins (Wide Receiver)
Somewhat offsetting his 3 catches for 33 yards and 1 touchdown, Jenkins had a critical dropped pass during the third quarter of the Missouri loss.
#26 Justin Green (Defensive Back)
Like Hull, Green recently moved from offense to defense to help the Illini deal with injuries and also had a nice game against Missouri, notching six tackles.
#76 Graham Pocic (Center)
While the Illini defense was better than expected during the Mizzou game, the offensive line was shaky as a whole.
#99 Michael Buchanan (Defensive Bandit)
Buchanan had three tackles against Missouri, but who knows when he’ll get back on the field after getting arrested for DUI and suspended by Illinois head coach Ron Zook.
ILLINI COACHING NEWS
Head Coach Ron Zook
I know that it’s easy for local and national media to pile on the beleaguered Zook, especially after the Illini were outclassed by Missouri in the second half after playing a great first 30 minutes, but at least the Illini played hard and with some toughness. That may not seem like much, but it’s an improvement from the last two seasons.
Running Backs Coach DeAndre Smith
BIG TEN/COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS
In his weekly Big Ten rankings, ESPN’s Josh Rittenberg has the Illini dead last. Come on. The Illini weren’t that bad against Missouri. Now if Illinois loses to SIU, Rittenberg can keep the Illini there all year long.
FUTURE ILLINI PLAYER NEWS
Illinois high school football season has always been underway for a couple of weeks, with more than a handful of 2011 Illini recruits in action around the state.
FORMER ILLINI PLAYER NEWS
Keep tabs on former Illini linebacker Brit Miller, quarterback Dustin Ward and running back Robert Holcombe.
As promised above, here’s a compilation of postgame stories detailing last week’s loss to Mizzou.
Coming tomorrow, Writing Illini will give its predictions for the Salukis-Illini game and try to track down the predictions of some of the credentialed members of the media.
Topics: A.J. Jenkins, Brit Miller, Carl Gettis, Clint Tucker, DeAndre Smith, Dustin Ward, Eddie McGee, Football, Graham Pocic, Illini Football, Illinois Fighting Illini Football, Illinois Football, Justin Green, Lucien Walker, Michael Buchanan, Missouri Football, Missouri Tigers Football, Nathan Scheelhaase, Reilly O'Toole, Robert Holcombe, Ron Zook, Salukis Football, Scott McDowell, Southern Illinois Football, Steve Hull, Tigers Football