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2008 Illinois Fighting Illini Football Preview

2008 Illinois Fighting Illini season preview from Maddux Sports. Below you can find our official Illinois Fighting Illini football preview as well as the 2008 Illinois Fighting Illini Football Schedule. Dont miss Maddux's free college football picks on the weekly college football odds from the #1 sports handicapping team.

Coach: Ron Zook (4th year at Illinois)
Team Name: Fighting Illini
2007 Overall Record: 9-4
Returning Starters: 13

The Fighting Illini of Illinois (9-4 overall, 6-2 Big Ten) tied for second-place in the conference by surprising and beating both Wisconsin and Ohio State. That finish and those victories earned the team a Rose Bowl berth where they met and were defeated soundly by USC 49-17. This season Illinois means business again.

The offense runs on junior QB Juice Williams athleticism, talent and versatility. Williams returns as the team’s leading passer (267 ATT, 153 REC, 1,743 YDS, 13 TDs, 12 INT) and runner (165 CAR, 755 YDS, 7 TDs). He completed over 57% of his throws last season, which was up dramatically from his frosh rate of 39%. He’s tough to defend against because of his ability to pick up clutch first downs either on the ground or through the air. At wide receiver, sophomore Arrelious Benn (54 REC, 676 YDS, 2 TDs) returns after a very productive freshman year. Three of five members of the O-line are back, including two prospective All-Americans—Ryan McDonald and Xavier Fulton.

The defensive line is deep and athletic. This season, they are also more experienced. Senior DE Will Davis returns as the Illini sack leader with 9.5. Martez Wilson, who was Rookie of the Year with Benn in 2007, will start at LB, while former OLB Brit Miller, a senior, moves inside. The corners, who are led by All-Big Ten junior Vontae Davis (76 tackles, 56 solo, 4 INT), are deep and talented, while the safeties are inexperienced.

The team opens its season at home on August 30 against a tough Missouri club. If the Illini can win that swing game, they’ll kick-start their quest for a Big Ten crown. The club plays a tough schedule with back-to-back road games against Penn State (September 27) and Michigan (November 4). Two other swing contests are away at Wisconsin (October 25) and home versus OSU (November 15).

Ron Zook has spent half of his head coaching years at Illinois, accumulating a three-year record of 13-23. Last season was a watershed year and this season with some solid and talented vets and a fine group of recruits, the Fighting Illini will certainly be in the hunt once again for a top spot in the Big Ten as well as a bowl invitation.

Illinois Fighting Illini Football Schedule

Date
Opponent
Home/Away
Aug 30
Missouri
Neutral
Sep 6
E Illinois
Home
Sep 13
ULL
Home
Sep 27
Penn State
Away
Oct 4
Michigan
Away
Oct 11
Minnesota
Home
Oct 18
Indiana
Home
Oct 25
Wisconsin
Away
Nov 1
Iowa
Home
Nov 8
Western Michigan
Away
Nov 15
Ohio State
Home
Nov 22
Northwestern
Away

 

For more info on the 2008 Illinois Fighting Illini football program, view their official website or read up on the rest of the Big Ten foes below.

 

2008 Big 10 Football Team Previews

All of the Big Ten Conference teams are listed to the right. Each team link gives our individual preview for the selected Big 10 club. For non Big Ten teams visit our college football preview page.

The Big Ten Football Preview page gives you are order of finish and a quick overview. Is Rich Rodriguez the man to lead the Wolverines back to a national title? Can anyone catch Ohio State? Is Iowa ready to return to the top of the Big 10?

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