In what was already going to be a tough game to win, the Illini have been dealt a big blow with the news that Wes Lunt is injured and will not be playing tonight against the Cornhuskers. Though this has not yet been officially confirmed by the team, several reporters with reliable information tweeted about it this afternoon:
Barring a change in the final hours, expect Reilly O'Toole to start for #Illini tonight vs. Nebraska. Hearing it's not a done deal though— Aaron Bennett (@WCIA3Aaron) September 27, 2014
Multiple sources very close to the Illinois program are telling me that Reilly O'Toole is starting at QB for the #Illini against Nebraska.— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) September 27, 2014
Hearing Lunt is a little banged up, and they don't want to risk further injury tonight. Would rather have him 100% healthy for next week— Aaron Bennett (@WCIA3Aaron) September 27, 2014
O'Toole brings a different element to #Illini attack. More mobile than Lunt. Will definitely force last minute adjustments from NEB defense— Aaron Bennett (@WCIA3Aaron) September 27, 2014
This is obviously a good move as no one would want to trot Lunt out there at less than 100% and risk a far more serious injury. If you're looking at this optimistically, the Huskers will now have to prep for O'Toole at the last minute and may not be ready for the newly-altered Illini gameplan. He's certainly a more mobile QB than Lunt is, as Aaron Bennett points out, but is also less experienced and doesn't have the accuracy and arm strength that Lunt does.'
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It might also be interesting to see if Aaron Bailey is incorporated into the game at all, though he has yet to see any game action in 2014.