It's a new era of Fighting Illini Football as the Illini open the 2016 campaign hosting Murray State Saturday afternoon.
First year head coach Lovie Smith opens a new chapter in the college game after many years in the National Football League.
The Illini will rely on an experienced front four and quarterback, Wes Lunt.
The Illini will be led by DE Dewuane Smoot, who had a breakout 2015 season. Smoot leads a defense that will be inexperienced at both linebacker and in the secondary that returns just two starters.
The offense will be led by senior quarterback Wes Lunt. While the Illini will be without leading receiver from 2015 Geronimo Allison and Mike Dudek, who is out with another knee injury, the Illini have enough playmakers. They return true sophomore runningback Ke'Shawn Vaughn along with tightend Tyler White, receivers Justin Hardee and Malik Turner.
Game time Saturday afternoon is 2:30 pm on the Big Ten Network.