ILLINOIS Off – 5/3 Def – 4/0 32 Lettermen
TEAM THEME: LOVE, THE SECOND TIME AROUND
There was little love in the air at the conclusion of the 2016 Illinois football season, Lovie Smith’s 1st year with the program. Because of his decision to start the second-most amount of freshmen in the country last year (29.2 percent of players that started games for the Illini), his troops were ranked No. 127 (2nd last) in the nation in first down offense, and also No. 127 in 3rd down conversion percentage. Five players with significant experience return up front. If star WR Mike Dudek, former Big Ten Freshman POY, can fight his way back from a gruesome knee injury suffered in 2015, the underclassmen just might come to Lovie’s rescue in 2017.
STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Illinois is 3-31 SU and 11-23 ATS in its last 34 Big Ten games versus .500 or greater opponents.
PLAY ON: at Purdue (11/4)
This season we present a Power Play Preview on each team from a Power 5 conference. These plays are extracted from the 2017 Playbook Football Preview Guide magazine.
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