College football schedule week 2: Illinois Fighting Illini at Kansas Jayhawks
Friday, 6:30 PM CT on ESPN2
We’ll get started with a little Friday night action.
These two teams both saw breakout seasons a year ago.
In their 2nd year under former Wisconsin and Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, Illinois won eight games, their most since 2007, and was firmly in the race to reach the Big Ten title game. Kansas, also under a 2nd-year head coach in Lance Leipold, was the darling of the CFB universe, reaching a bowl game for the first time since 2008.
They’re programs that rarely experience success in football with fanbases always looking ahead to basketball season. But things seem to trending up for these squads. And that should make for an intriguing non-conference matchup.
Both teams started off the season 1-0.
As mentioned in the intro, Illinois need some late-game heroics to avoid getting upset by Toledo. But the Rockets are a good MAC squad, and Ole Miss-transfer and Starkville-native Luke Altmeyer played well for Illinois at quarterback. Kansas rolled FCS Missouri State without starting quarterback Jalon Daniels, who’s expected to be back for Friday.
There’s a great schematic matchup here between Illinois’ stellar defensive front, led by defensive end Jer’Zhan Newton and linebacker Tarique Barnes, and the Jayhawks’ spread triple option attack, headed by running back Devin Neal.
If these two were meeting on the hardwood in March, the whole nation would be tuning-in. But you should definitely tune-in to watch them on the gridiron Friday night.