College football is right around the corner. It's time to forget about Tim Beckman (at least for the moment), the ongoing player mistreatment situation, and everything else that happened during Illinois' dreadful offseason. Bill Cubit and the Fighting Illini will be running out of the tunnel just five days from now -- that's exciting!
To kick off our coverage each week, we'll be posting brief scouting reports that include some basic facts about Illinois' opponents. Kent State is, obviously, the first team up. The Golden Flashes are coming off a pretty disappointing 2014, but a plethora of returning players could result in another bowl appearance.
Head Coach: Paul Haynes (2013-Present) | Record: 6-17 (4-11)
SB Nation Affiliate: Hustle Belt (MAC site)
2014 Schedule & Results
|Record: 2-9 | Adj. Record: 2-9 | Final F/+ Rk: 107|
|Date||Opponent||Opp. F/+ Rk||Score||W-L||Percentile
|13-Sep||at Ohio State||1||0-66||L||2%||-50.0||0%|
|4-Oct||at Northern Illinois||69||14-17||L||29%||-13.0||8%|
|25-Oct||at Miami (Ohio)||103||3-10||L||32%||-10.9||45%|
|12-Nov||at Bowling Green||98||20-30||L||49%||-0.4||63%|
Kent State will return a combined 19 starters on offense and defense in 2015. The offense isn't expected to be anything too special this year, but this team could surprise people if the defense continues to improve.
According to our friends at Hustle Belt, the five key players for Kent State in 2015 are Jordan Italiano (SS), Nate Holley (FS), Nate Terhune (DT), Colin Reardon (QB), and Anthony Melchiori (P/K).
The Flashes boast the best passing defense in the MAC. Italiano and Holley are two of the best safeties in the conference and the unit is only strengthened by cornerbacks Demetrius Monday and Najee Murray.
Colin Reardon will once again be the team's starting quarterback. The redshirt-junior already has two years of playing experience under his belt and he's coming off a sophomore campaign that saw him throw for about 2,500 yards and 14 touchdowns. The bad news? Those numbers were accompanied by 16 interceptions.
|Date||Opponent||2014 F/+ Rk|
|September 5th||at Illinois||78|
|September 12th||Delaware State||NR|
|September 19th||at Minnesota||37|
|October 3rd||Miami (Ohio)||103|
|October 10th||at Toledo||59|
|October 17th||at Massachusetts||120|
|October 24th||Bowling Green||98|
|November 10th||at Ohio||106|
|November 18th||Central Michigan||85|
|November 27th||at Akron||105|