Illini Legends, Lists and Lore: Third-season magic

Illini Legends, Lists and Lore: Third-season magic

If recent history is an indicator of what kind of a season it’s going to be for Illinois’ 2014 football team, coach Tim Beckman has good reason to smile. Each of the last five Illini coaches has won at least seven games in his third season. Each of those teams has posted no worse than a .500 record in Big Ten Conference play. Each team went on to play in a postseason bowl game. The combined scoring average for those third-season teams is 27.7 points per game. And four of those five teams beat Ohio State. With 40 of 50 players returning from last season’s two-deep chart, Beckman’s 2014 squad has an excellent chance to match or better the accomplishments of his recent predecessors’ third squads:

Ron Zook: 2007, 9-4 overall, 6-2 Big Ten (T-2nd), Rose Bowl
Ron Turner: 1999, 8-4 overall, 4-4 Big Ten (T-6th), Bowl
Lou Tepper: 1994, 7-5 overall, 4-4 Big Ten (5th), Liberty Bowl
John Mackovic: 1990, 8-4 overall, 6-2 Big Ten (T-1st), Hall of Fame Bowl
Mike White: 1982, 7-5 overall, 6-3 Big Ten (4th), Liberty Bowl

Illini birthdays
Sunday: Tony Pashos, football (34)
Monday: Jim Stauner, football (60)
Tuesday: Herb Caldwell, basketball (40)
Wednesday: Charles Lakes, gymnastics (50)
Thursday: Allison Guth, basketball (32)
Friday: Raki Bogan, baseball (40)
Saturday: Zach Hirth, football (21)
By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore
Get Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter @B1GLLL and on Facebook at Big Ten Legends, Lists & Lore

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