Illini WR Mike Dudek: rare bright spot in lost season

Mike Dudek Catch

Champaign, IL- While your statistics professor might give you a decent argument disputing it, Saturday’s loss to Iowa effectively ended the season for the Fighting Illini. Sitting at 4-5, Tim Beckman’s squad needed to win two games to gain bowl eligibility; the team’s primary goal for the 2014 season.

For three quarters, it looked like the Illini might actually notch number five, but the fourth quickly reminded the 50,373 frozen fans (and the thousands of fraternity and sorority members choosing to watch the game at Joe’s and Red Lion instead) that both wins and bowl games in the Tim Beckman era of Illinois Football are not easy to come by.

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Illini announce new OC, 10 members of incoming class enrolling early

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Illinois football announced Bill Cubit as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach following an eight-year stint as head coach at Western Michigan. Cubit led WMU to a 51-47 overall record and three bowls during his tenure with the Broncos.

With the hiring, Billy Gonzales will be re-assigned as wide receivers coach after serving as co-offensive coordinator in 2012. The other co-offensive coordinator was fired; thank goodness. You remember how atrocious the Illini were on offense in 2012, ranking 12th (dead last) in the Big Ten in most major categories and close to the bottom nationally.

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Illini coach taken out by referee (video)

tim-beckman

It’s been that kind of year for the Illinois Fighting Illini and their hopeless coach Tim Beckman. At 2-10, winless in conference and blown out in more than half their losses, it’s been pure phantasmagoria.

Today’s blowout loss to Northwestern brought more pain. On the field, and the sideline.
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Ranking ’12 Illini football AWFULNESS among other TERRIBLE Illinois teams

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The state of Illinois football has long been declared a disaster area. FEMA will be sending aid soon to clean up the wreckage created my Superstorm Tim Beckman. Actually, the true creator of this mess is Athletic Director Mike Thomas, but that’s another column for another time. Clearly, Beckman is in way over his head, and Thomas had no clue what he was doing when he hired him.

I’ve seen NFL mock drafts with four Illini defenders being taken in the first three rounds. And what has Beckman been able to do with that talent on defense? 31.5 ppg against. second to last in the Big Ten.

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Illini offensive line among worst ever

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Tim Beckman isn’t the only reason the Illinois Fighting Illini are completely atrocious this season. Sure, he’s the main reason; as he’s clearly over-matched every week and in over his head.

However, the main driving force behind the Illini being awful is the complete ineptitude of the offensive line. More than halfway through the season, the Illini are dead last in the Big Ten (and a very weak Big Ten at that) in rushing yards per game and also dead last in sacks allowed. They can’t open holes nor can they protect the quarterback.

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Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase tries to hi five referee, fails (video)

Early in the Illini Badgers game Saturday, Illinois had a lead. It didn’t last long as the Illini lost 31-14. But after scoring, Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase tries to actually hi five the referee. The zebra knows better than to do something showing allegiance like that, and Scheelhaase stumbles as the ref leaves him hanging.
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Illini coach Tim Beckman caught chewing on sidelines; NCAA violation

tim-beckman

Here’s a multi-media gaffe for you. Getting caught by television cameras with chewing tobacco when you’re a college football coach. And chew at practices and games is a NCAA violation for  players and coaches.

That’s what happened with Illini coach Tim Beckman, who apologized for it after his team got destroyed by the Wisconsin Badgers 31-14 Saturday.

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Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Wisconsin Badgers: Brutally Honest Preview

The Illinois Fighting Illini and Wisconsin Badgers have a lot in common in 2012 and it’s not a good thing. Most notably is the unexpected and disappointing starts  for both teams. Neither team looked half-decent against non-conference foes and both lost their Big Ten openers.

The Illini’s new head coach Tim Beckman could already be on the hot-seat and the Wisconsin Badgers are without any kind of identity on the offensive side of the ball.

Let the battle of the Big Ten’s Legends Division begin.

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Why is Illinois so bad at football?

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The Illinois Fighting Illini are 2-3, but those two wins came courtesy of a MAC and FCS team. They’ve been absolutely destroyed by every FBS team they’ve faced this season, even getting routed at home by a non power conference team in Louisiana Tech. In their three losses, the Illini have surrendered an average of 44 ppg.

Yesterday, Illinois, not Penn State looked like the team on sanctions with nothing to play for. The Nittany Lions didn’t gain many more yards than Illinois, but they didn’t make all the mistakes that the Illini did. PSU can’t go to a bowl, but looked like a bowl team. Illinois looks like 3-9, 4-8 at best. Considering that Illinois still has talent on the roster how did this happen?

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Illini win Tim Beckman’s debut convincingly

illini-maria-kanellis

One thing is for sure- this Illinois Fighting Illini team can play some defense.

With starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase injured, safety Ashante Williams returned an interception 60 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown to help Illinois and new coach Tim Beckman hang on for a 24-7 win Saturday over Western Michigan in the season opener for both teams.

The Illini opened up a 17-0 lead but their offense stalled when Scheelhaase left the game with an ankle injury late in the third quarter.

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Illini Football Media Day highlights

tim-beckman

New Illinois football head coach Tim Beckman takes over for the fired Ron Zook. The rookie head coach (on a Big Ten level) from Toledo addressed the media yesterday (Here is the link to the 25 minute video) after a week at Camp Rantoul; the Illini train on the former Chanute air force base.

Here are some of the highlights of what he had to say

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Illini vs. Washington at Soldier Field in 2013

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University of Illinois Director of Athletics Mike Thomas announced that the Fighting Illini will play the Washington Huskies at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sept. 14, 2013. It will mark Illinois’ second game at the historic home of the Chicago Bears.

“This is a great opportunity for our football team to play in one of the most historic football venues in the nation,” Thomas said. “Soldier Field is in an incredible location that will allow our fans in the Chicagoland area and from around the state an opportunity to watch the Fighting Illini take on an outstanding Pac-12 opponent in Washington.”

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