Coming off a bye last week, Illinois should be well-rested as they host the Minnesota Golden Gophers for Homecoming.
Prior to the week off, the Fighting Illini suffered their third straight loss, a 38-28 setback to Wisconsin in Madison. They are still searching for their first win in conference play.
Minnesota has won the last three meetings with Illinois, and leads the all-time series, 35-28-3.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers will try to strengthen their postseason positioning on Saturday afternoon in a Big Ten Conference road tilt with Illinois at Memorial Stadium.
Minnesota continues to rely heavily on the ground game, and not much else. The team ranks No. 25 in the nation in rushing offense (222.4 ypg), but only 109th in total offense (348.7 ypg). David Cobb is fifth in the nation in rushing with 144.7 ypg, and he ran for 194 yards and a touchdown in the win over Purdue. Mitch Leidner threw for 165 yards and two TDs, and he also ran for 84 yards and a score. Leidner has completed only 54.1 percent of his passes on
Defensively, the Illini are giving up an average of 36 ppg and an unsightly 271.1 ypg on the ground, which ranks 122nd nationally. Last week, they were gashed for 401 yards (8.5 ypc) and five scores on the ground by Wisconsin's top-ranked rushing attack.
With Minnesota's capable ground game on tap, the unit must quickly regroup and find a way to clog up some running lanes, or it could be a long day.
Minnesota moved into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten West Division, and claimed its first 3-0 start in conference play since 1990, with last week's 39-38 comeback win over Purdue.