ILLINOIS (1-5, 0-2) vs.
No. 21/23 MICHIGAN STATE (5-1, 2-0)
October 11, 2003 - 11 a.m. CT (espn2)
Memorial Stadium (69,249) - Champaign, Ill.
Saturday's contest will be the 39th meeting between the Michigan State
Spartans and Illinois Fighting Illini in the 48-year series history. The
Spartans have won six straight, dating back to 1995 and Ron Turner is 0-4
vs. MSU. The two teams have not met since the 2000 season when Michigan
State won 14-10.
The Illini will face its second of five consecutive Top-25 opponents this
season when it hosts No. 23 Michigan State. The Illini are 0-1 vs. ranked
foes this season, following a loss to No. 22/23 Purdue last weekend.
Illinois has five wins against ranked opponents during the Turner-era.
Following the Spartans, the Illini will square off against No. 20/19
Michigan on Oct. 18, No. 17/13 Minnesota on Oct. 25 and finally No. 15/14
Iowa on Nov. 1.
Illinois quarterback Jon Beutjer is moving up the Illinois passing charts,
ranking seventh with 30 career touchdown passes. He needs one more to move
to sixth tying Jeff George's 31. His 430-passing performance against
California was the second 400-yard game of his career, following a 426-yard
output vs. San Jose State in 2001. With one more 400-yard output Beutjer
could tie an Illinois record set by Dave Wilson and Tony Eason for most
career 400-yard games.
True-freshman running back E.B. Halsey currently ranks fourth in the
nation and first in the Big Ten in all-purpose yardage as Illinois' leading
rusher, receiving threat and primary kick and punt returner. He is averaging
167.5 yards per contest and topped the 1,000-yard mark for the season
through six games. He has topped 200 yards in three games this season and
hit his career high against Wisconsin with 271 yards.
With 389 yards rushing, Halsey is improving on the Illinois freshman
rushing list. He moved to sixth, passing Steve Feagin (1988). With 67 yards,
he could move to fifth, tying Lonnie Perrin from 1972 and a career day of
131 yards would move him to fourth with Robert Holcombe (1994).
Junior wide receiver Kelvin Hayden has caught a Big Ten leading 39 passes
for an average of 6.5 per game. His total receptions rank fourth in the
Of junior wide receiver Mark Kornfeld's 22 catches this season, 17 have
converted first downs (77 percent).
True-freshman wide receiver Lonnie Hurst has tallied 264 yards on 22
catches through six games. The freshman record for receiving yards is 511
set by Brandon Lloyd in 1999.
Senior placekicker John Gockman ranks 16th in the nation with 10 field
goals made (10-of-12), while sophomore punter Steve Weatherford is second in
the conference with a 44.3 yard average, which is also 15th in the NCAA.
THE COACHES' CORNER
Ron Turner, Illinois ? (32-43 in his seventh year at Illinois, 39-47
overall, 19-31 in the Big Ten). Turner is 0-4 against Michigan State, the
only team in the conference he has yet to beat. However, Turner and John L.
Smith have met on three occasions, during Smith's tenure at Louisville. In
those three meetings, the Illini have come out on top twice (1999 and 2001).
Turner earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 2001 after leading
Illinois to the Big Ten championship and a trip to the Nokia Sugar Bowl and
its first 10-win season since 1989. The league title was the Illini's first
Turner has served as quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator or head
coach since 1981. During that time he coached quarterbacks such as Jeff
Garcia, Erik Kramer, Jim Harbaugh, Sean Salisbury, Rodney Peete and Kurt
Turner led the Illini to an 8-4 record and a 63-21 thumping of Virginia in
the Micronpc.com Bowl in 1999. For his efforts, Turner finished fourth in
the Associated Press Coach of the Year voting.
Turner came to Illinois after a four-year stint as the offensive
coordinator for the Chicago Bears (1993-96). In 1992, he was the head coach
for San Jose State where he turned in a 7-4 record and a second-place finish
in the Big West Conference. Turner served as an assistant at Stanford, Texas
A&M, Southern California, Pittsburgh, Northwestern and Arizona working
mainly with quarterbacks and receivers during his 20+ years in college
JOHN L. SMITH, MICHIGAN STATE - (5-1 in his first season at Michigan
State; 115-61 in his 15th year at the collegiate level.) Smith is in his
first season at MSU and has the Spartans off to a 5-1 start, including 2-0
in the Big Ten. Smith began his coaching career at Idaho from 1989-94 before
moving to Utah State from 1995-97. He led USU to consecutive conference
championships in 96 and 97 before taking over at Louisville from 1998-2002.
He has led teams to bowl appearances each of the last six seasons, including
all five years at Louisville. He coached against Ron Turner three times as
head coach at Louisville compiling a 1-2 record. The Cardinals won 35-9 in
1998, with the Illini taking the other two meetings in 1999 (41-36) and 2001
Michigan State leads the all-time series 20-16-2, including wins in the
last six meetings dating back to 1992 (14-10 UI win at Champaign). The
series is tied 9-9-1 in games played at Memorial
Stadium. The last meeting in 2000 ended with a 14-10 victory by the Spartans
at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.
Illinois took six straight wins in the series from 1980-85, but Michigan
State has a 9-3-1 advantage since 1986. The Spartans have won the last three
at Memorial Stadium.
4 MSU Offensive Coordinator Dave Baldwin was head coach at San Jose State
from 1997-2000, while Illini head coach Ron Turner was head coach at SJSU in
Illinois has seven players from the state of Michigan, including defensive
back Sharriff Abdullah (Detroit/St. Martin DePorres), defensive back Alan
Ball (Detroit/St. Martin DePorres), defensive back Cornelius Dillard
(Detroit/St. Martin DePorres), wide receiver Lonnie Hurst (Detroit/Jesuit),
linebacker Anthony Thornhill (Detroit/Central), quarterback DeJuan Warren
(Southfield) and placekicker Justin Brantley (Detroit/St. Martin DePorres).
Abdullah is a redshirt freshman, while the other five are all true freshmen.
SCORING BY ANY MEANS POSSIBLE
True-freshman E.B. Halsey scored his fifth touchdown of the season when he
returned a punt 41 yards against the Purdue Boilermakers. He has now scored
three different ways this season (one rushing touchdown, three receiving and
one punt return). The feat marks the ninth time that an Illinois player had
touchdown three ways in the same season and the first time since 1972 when
George Uremovich did it with a rushing, receiving and kick return score.
Red Grange, 1923 (punt return, rush, reception)
Red Grange, 1925 (kickoff return, rush, reception)
Don Greenwood, 1944 (kickoff return, rush, interception return)
Buddy Young, 1944 (punt return, rush, reception)
Paul Patterson, 1944 (punt return, rush, reception)
Eddie McGovern, 1943 (interception return, rush, reception)
Johnny Karras, 1949 (kickoff return, rush, reception)
George Uremovich, 1972 (kickoff return, rush, reception)
E.B. Halsey, 2003 (punt return, rush, reception)