Oct. 23, 2012
The Fighting Illini (2-5, 0-3) return to Memorial Stadum for the first time in four weeks to host the Indiana Hoosiers (2-5, 0-3) as part of the University of Illinois' 102nd Homecoming celebration on Saturday (11 am CT, BTN).
The Fighting Illini are coming off a bye weekend heading into Saturday's Indiana game. Illinois has played 28 games after a bye in the modern era and is 11-17 in those contests.
Illinois has faced the 23rd-toughest schedule so far this season, as Illini oppponents have a 22-13 record against FBS competition (not including their game against Illinois). Non-conference FBS foes Louisiana Tech (6-1), Arizona State (5-2) and Western Michigan (3-5) are a combined 14-8 overall this season.
Illinois ranks sixth nationally and leads the Big Ten in fourth-down defense, allowing just one first down on five fourth-down attempts (20.0 percent).
Illinois ranks 12th nationally and second in the Big Ten in defensive three-and-outs with 4.71 per game. The Illini have forced a three-and-out on 33 drives in the first seven games of 2012.
Illinois is holding opponents to a third-down conversion rate of just 33.3 percent (29-of-87), which ranks third in the Big Ten and 24th in the nation.
Junior LB Jonathan Brown is one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, which goes annually to the nation's top linebacker. Brown has 44 tackles, 6.5 TFLs and 1.5 sacks on the season.
Senior DE Michael Buchanan has six passes defended on the season (5 PBUs and 1 INT), which is the most in the nation for a defensive lineman. The Bednarik, Hendricks and Nagurski Award candidate also has 28 tackles, 5.0 TFLs, a team-high 2.5 sacks, four QB hurries and one forced fumble on the season.
Junior QB Nathan Scheelhaase is among Illinois' career leaders in several categories. He's fourth in passing effeciency (129.2), sixth in total offense (6,219), eighth in TD passes (33), ninth in passing yardage (4,598), completions (406) and attempts (665), and 20th in rushing yardage (1,621).
LB Mason Monheim leads all Big Ten freshmen and ranks third on the team in tackles with 42. During conference games, the true-freshman is averaging 8.3 stops per game, which ranks 10th overall, and is tied for second in the B1G with two forced fumbles. Monheim earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors after posting a game- and career-high 11 tackles and forcing a fumble against Penn State on Sept. 29.
ILLINOIS HOMECOMING FACTS
The first homecoming celebrated on Illinois' campus was on Oct. 15, 1910, which the Illini won 3-0 over Chicago. This year's game against Indiana marks the Illini's 102nd Homecoming.
Illinois has an all-time record of 44-55-2 on Homecoming.
This year will mark the seventh time overall and the second time in the last three years that the Illini have hosted Indiana on Homecoming. Illinois is 4-2 all-time in Homecoming games against the Hoosiers.
| Illinois Homecoming Games vs. Indiana
| Oct. 23, 2010
||Illinois 43, Indiana 13
| Oct. 7, 2006
||Indiana 34, Illinois 32
| Oct. 25, 2002
||Illinois 45, Indiana 14
| Oct. 17, 1970
||Indiana 30, Illinois 24
| Oct. 16, 1965
||Illinois 34, Indiana 13
| Oct. 28, 1950
||Illinois 20, Indiana 0
The University of Illinois boasts being one of the first universities to celebrate Homecoming, a tradition on almost every college campus. It was conceived in 1909 by students C.F. Williams and W. Elmer Ekblaw, members of the Shield and Trident senior society. They joined with another society, Phoenix, to organize the three-day event.
For years, there has been a debate over which university had the first homecoming. Historians from various schools found research that puts Illinois among one of the first five universities to celebrate the Homecoming tradition. Baylor has documented proof of a formally named Homecoming celebration in 1909, but took a six-year hiatus before celebrating the second event at the school in 1915. Northern Illinois had alumni events beginning in 1906, but didn't use the proper noun "Homecoming" until 1911. Indiana University renamed their 1909 Gala Day, Homecoming on Nov. 5, 1910, and Michigan began inviting alumni back to campus in 1897, but the formal name began on the Ann Arbor campus in 1916.
The Last Meeting
October 8, 2011
INDIANA SERIES NOTES
This week's game marks the 70th meeting between the Fighting Illini and the Indiana Hoosiers. The Illini have won four of the last five against the Hoosiers and hold a 45-21-3 overall series advantage against IU. The Illini won last year's meeting in Bloomington, 41-20, giving the Illini a 6-0 start to the season.
Illinois also leads the series by a commanding 29-8-1 margin in games played in Champaign, including 12 of the last 13 meetings on the Illini's home field dating back to 1981. The Illini won the last two contests in Champaign in blowout fashion - 43-13 in 2010 and 55-13 in 2008.
Illinois coach Tim Beckman has never faced the Hoosiers, while IU coach Kevin Wilson is 0-1 against the Illini.
Indiana assistant head coach/co-defensive coordinator Doug Mallory is the brother of former Illini assistants Curt and Mike Mallory. Curt, who was on Ron Zook's staff from 2005-09; Mike, who was at Illinois from 2001-05 under both Ron Turner and Zook; and Doug are the sons of Bill Mallory, who was the head coach at Indiana, Northern Illinois, Colorado and Miami (Ohio) between 1969-96.
HIGHLIGHTS AGAINST THE HOOSIERS
The last two times the Hoosiers have come to Illinois' Memorial Stadium, the Illini have put up 55 (2008) and 43 (2010) points in blowout victories.
Illinois' offense exploded against Indiana last season, posting 518 total yards, a season-high against FBS opponents. Meanwhile, the Illini defense posted 9.0 TFLs, broke up five passes and scored on a 66-yard fumble return by Tavon Wilson in the first quarter. It marked the third defensive touchdown in the last two games against Indiana, as LB Jonathan Brown and FS Pat Nixon-Youman each recorded interception returns for touchdowns in 2010.
QB Nathan Scheelhaase completed 12-of-22 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 88 yards and a score. In two career games against the Hoosiers, Scheelhaase is averaging 233.0 yards of total offense with six total touchdowns.
RB Donovonn Young rushed for 73 yards on 12 carries (6.1 ypc) against the Hoosiers in 2011.
TE Jon Davis caught a three-yard TD pass in the 2011 game, his first career touchdown.
SS Steve Hull and LB Houston Bates both recorded career-high tackle totals against Indiana in 2011, as Hull made eight stops and Bates racked up seven, with all 15 tackles between the pair being solos. Hull also intercepted a pass in the game.
In 2010, Brown and Nixon-Youman both had pick-sixes, and CB Terry Hawthorne also added an interception in the 43-13 win.
TE Evan Wilson had a 29-yard TD reception from Nathan Scheelhaase in the 2010 game.
OL Hugh Thornton saw the first playing time of his career when he got the start at right tackle against IU as a true-freshman in 2009. Since that game, he has made 29 more starts.
ILLINI EXCEL IN THE CLASSROOM
One area that head coach Tim Beckman has stressed since his arrival has been academics and Illinois is already starting to show results. The Illini posted a 3.09 team GPA during the 2012 summer session, 19 players had a perfect 4.0 GPA and 54 of 91 (59 percent) players enrolled in summer classes had a 3.0 GPA or higher. Below are more notes on Illinois' recent academic success:
QB Nathan Scheelhaase and DT Akeem Spence, both redshirt-juniors athletically, are on pace to complete their bachelor's degrees in December 2012, a span of only three-and-a-half years on campus.
Ten current Illini seniors have already completed their bachelor's degrees, with five pursuing a master's and five pursuing a second bachelor's degree. Tommy Davis, James Hallendorff, Corey Lewis, Tyler Sands and Zak Pedersen are currently in graduate school, while Glenn Foster, Graham Pocic, Supo Sanni, Justin Staples and Ashante Williams are working toward a second bachelor's degree.
Seniors Zach Becker, Jack Ramsey and Eddie Viliunas are on track to finish their bachelor's degrees in December 2012.
Sophomore linebacker Houston Bates and senior offensive lineman Tyler Sands both have posted consecutive semesters with perfect 4.0 GPAs (Spring 2012, Summer 2012).
Four freshmen entered Illinois with impressive academic credentials, with DB V'Angelo Bentley, WR Justin Hardee and LB Mason Monheim all transferring in more than 20 hours of college credit that they took in high school, giving them a leg up on a degree. Freshman LS Michael Martin also enters UI as a member of the James Scholar honors program in mechanical engineering.
Senior DB Supo Sanni participated in the NCAA Career in Sports Forum in Indianapolis during the summer, while junior DB Kaeman Mitchell served an internship with Northwestern Mutual. Sophomore LB Ralph Cooper transferred into the College of Media and will pursue a degree in broadcast journalism.