It's been 764 days since the Fighting Illini last won a football game against a Big Ten opponent.
The last time the Illini were victorious in Big Ten play was October 8, 2011 against the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington, IN. Following their win, the Illini then lost their remaining Big Ten games in 2011 and went winless in 2012 in conference play.
Perhaps their best opportunity came just two weeks ago when the Illini fell to Penn State in Happy Valley in overtime.
Despite the embarrassing losing streak, the Illini have had quite a few chances to right the ship and post that elusive Big Ten win. Perhaps their best opportunity came just two weeks ago when the Illini fell to Penn State in Happy Valley in overtime.
2014 will hope to be a start of new beginnings and new winning for the Illini. Quarterbacks Aaron Bailey and Oklahoma State transfer Wes Lunt will likely be competing for the starting position following Nathan Scheelhaase's upcoming graduation.
In addition to Scheelhaase, the Illini will lose much of their receiving corps.
Receivers- Illinois' biggest loss will come to their receivers. Seniors Steve Hull, Ryan Lankford, Miles Osei and Spencer Harris will all be graduating following this season. Current junior Martize Barr will need to step up for the Illini, as well as sophomores Justin Hardee, Peter Bonahoom and Kenny Knight.
Offensive Line- Illinois' offensive line will likely have three seniors in 2014: LT Simon Cvijanovic, LG Michael Heitz and C Alex Hill. Current senior RT Corey Lewis will graduate in 2013. Sophomores Scott McDowell and Patrick Flavin will be competing for the starting job at RT next year.
Head coach Tim Beckman has yet to land a major commitment. Of the 11 non-junior college players currently committed, all are three-star players with grades in the 70s according to ESPN.com.
Courtesy of ESPN.com
The Illini have already improved from last season, going 3-6 in their first nine games. A win in Big Ten play would be huge for the Illini as well as their recruiting. Beckman has yet to land a four-star recruit in his tenure at Illinois, and doing so would be a great boost to his resume.