How they line up: Illini vs. Leathernecks

How they line up: Illini vs. Leathernecks

Beat writer Matt Daniels takes a look at starters for Illinois and Western Illinois, as well as players to watch on each side:

Illini (1-0)
Offense
No.     Position    Player    Ht.    Wt.    Yr.
12    Quarterback    Wes Lunt    6-5    225    Jr.
6    Running back    Josh Ferguson    5-10    195    Sr.
8    Receiver    Geronimo Allison    6-4    195    Sr.
16    Receiver    Marchie Murdock    6-1    195    So.
11    Receiver    Malik Turner    6-3    205    So.
87    Tight end    Tyler White    6-5    255    Jr.
57    Left tackle    Austin Schmidt    6-6    300    Jr.
55    Left guard    Chris Boles    6-4    320    Sr.
71    Center    Joe Spencer    6-4    300    Jr.
69    Right guard    Ted Karras    6-4    310    Sr.
67    Right tackle    Christian DiLauro    6-5    300    So.
17    Kicker    Taylor Zalewski    6-3    220    Sr.

Defense
No.    Position    Player    Ht.    Wt.    Yr.
91    End    Jihad Ward    6-6    290    Sr.
11    Tackle    Chunky Clements    6-3    290    Jr.
16    Tackle    Rob Bain    6-3    300    Jr.
6    Leo    Dawuane Smoot    6-3    270    Jr.
43    Linebacker    Mason Monheim    6-1    235    Sr.
52    Linebacker    T.J. Neal    6-1    235    Jr.
5    STAR    James Crawford    6-2    215    So.
2    Cornerback    V’Angelo Bentley    5-10    190    Sr.
27    Cornerback    Eaton Spence    6-0    185    Sr.
3    Strong safety    Taylor Barton    6-1    215    Jr.
20    Free safety    Clayton Fejedelem    6-1    195    Sr.
13    Punter    Ryan Frain    6-2    220    Jr.
Head coach: Bill Cubit (1-0 at Illinois, 52-47 overall in eight seasons)

Two Illini to watch
Tyler White, tight end
He’s still getting his legs underneath him after missing spring ball with a torn ACL and the first week of preseason practice with a bad case of the flu. Good rapport with Lunt off the field, White could become a key target near the end zone like he showed last Saturday.

James Crawford, STAR
He received playing time in the opener and entered the season knowing he would. Load increases, though, with regular starter Eric Finney out with an undisclosed injury. Florida native might have to overcome early jitters, too, because he’s making his first career start.

Leathernecks (1-0)
Offense
No.     Position    Player    Ht.    Wt.    Yr.
14    Quarterback    Trenton Norvell    6-5    220    Jr.
28    Running back    Devon Moore    6-2    210    Jr.
7    Receiver    Lance Lenoir    6-0    200    Jr.
1    Receiver    Joey Borsellino    5-11    185    Jr.
15    Receiver    J’Vaughn Williams    6-5    205    Jr.
55    Left tackle    Josh Baldus    6-5    285    So.
63    Left guard    Ryan Ricketts    6-3    290    Sr.
66    Center    Jacob Judd    6-3    290    So.
77    Right guard    James Torgerson    6-5    290    So.
73    Right tackle    Matt Zobrist    6-3    300    Jr.
33    Kicker    Nathan Knuffman    6-1    205    Jr.

Defense
No.    Position    Player    Ht.    Wt.    Yr.
96    End    John LaChapelle    6-1    265    Sr.
92    Tackle    Kris Harley    6-1    290    Sr.
98    Tackle    Gavin Ricketts    6-1    290    Sr.
99    End    Eddy Holtschlag    6-4    250    Sr.
35    Linebacker    Adam Brott    6-2    225    So.
44    Linebacker    Brett Taylor    6-2    230    So.
27    Linebacker    Brad Blumenshine    6-2    215    Sr.
6    Cornerback    Xavier Rowe    6-0    190    Fr.
3    Cornerback    Timothy Smith    6-1    195    Fr.
38    Strong safety    David Griffith    5-11    210    So.
5    Free safety    Aaron Diggs    6-1    195    Fr.
33    Punter    Nathan Knuffman    6-1    205    Jr.
Head coach: Bob Nielson (11-15 at Western Illinois, 181-74 overall in 23 seasons)

Two Leathernecks to watch
Lance Lenoir, wide receiver/kick returner
Former high school teammate of Illinois cornerback Jaylen Dunlap at Crete-Monee, Lenoir is fresh off a solid showing in Western Illinois’ 33-5 win against Eastern Illinois. He racked up 10 receptions for 124 yards and added 156 yards in returns. Not bad.

Brett Taylor, linebacker
The Leathernecks were actually outgained by EIU 308-266 in terms of total offense. But Taylor, who recorded six tackles, made up for it with a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Panthers. Do that to Lunt and the Leathernecks might have a chance.

Prediction: Illinois 45, Western Illinois 13
The Illini don’t lose games like this. No different on Saturday, either. Western Illinois plays in the most-respected FCS conference, the Missouri Valley. This is the Leathernecks’ one chance to pull a stunner. But they don’t have Wes Lunt. Or Josh Ferguson. Or Jihad Ward. And the list goes on. Another good opportunity for interim coach Bill Cubit to empty his bench. Well before another rendition of “Alma Mater” gets going in the north end zone. (N-G prediction record: 1-0)


 

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