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Illinois Takes on Indiana Tonight

Illinois football coach Bret Bielema wanted a nonconference game before opening Big Ten play. 


Athletic department officials obliged, and the Illini beat Wyoming convincingly last week. Bielema now hopes the expected improvement between the first two games comes to fruition. 


Indiana, meanwhile, opens against a conference opponent for the fourth time in six years. The last time the Hoosiers won their opener, in the 2020 pandemic season, they went 6-2. This time they’re trying to snap a nine-game losing streak in league play.


Hoosiers coach Tom Allen hasn’t announced whether Jack Tuttle or Missouri transfer Connor Bazelak will start. Either way, the challenge will be facing what appears to be an improved Illinois defense. A year ago, the Illini allowed 215.2 yards passing per game. But they yielded only 30 yards last week for their lowest single-game total since 2012. The Cowboys also converted just one of 12 third downs.


After topping the 1,000-yard mark last season, Illinois RB Chase Brown opened 2022 with a bang. His 151 yards rushing rank fourth in the nation and his three touchdowns — two on runs, one on a catch — are tied for the national lead.


Illinois and Indiana are squaring off for just the second time since 2013. 


The Illini have held five of their last six opponents to 20 points or 

Indiana lost its final eight games in 2021 but has won three straight in the series. 


Illinois QB Tommy DeVito will make his conference debut just six days after going 27 of 37 with 194 yards and two TDs in his first game since transferring from Syracuse.

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