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Illinois Coaching Search Update: Rod Carey, Northern Illinois put a scare in Ohio State

We continue to follow potential coaching candidates for the Fighting Illini this coming offseason, adding new names and subtracting others as the season plays out. How did their teams fare during the third week of college football action?

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

It's no secret that Illinois is already beginning to look for a new head coach following the abrupt firing of Tim Beckman one week before the beginning of the 2015 season. Let's take a look and see how those candidates' teams fared after the third week of the season.


Bill Cubit, Illinois (2-1)

Week 3 Result: Loss, 48-14 at North Carolina

Interim Illini head coach Bill Cubit is certainly a candidate to keep his current job, but this weekend's game at North Carolina didn't help his case any. The Illini gave up 471 total yards to the Tar Heel offense and the game was over early in the third quarter. The result looked familiar to the recent struggles Illinois has had on the road during the non-conference season, and if something doesn't change soon Cubit will not be at the helm of the program in 2016.

P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan (1-2)

Week 3 Result: Win, 52-20 versus Murray State

The Broncos finally put their first win of the season together, and it was a solid one. They thumped Murray State by 32 points on Saturday, totaling 628 yards of offense and also compiling three turnovers. Fleck's team was up 45-6 before the final quarter of play even began. The Broncos are going to travel to Columbus and take on the first-ranked Buckeyes this weekend. It will be interesting to see if Western Michigan can make some noise as Northern Illinois did.

Justin Fuente, Memphis (3-0)

Week 3 Result: Win, 44-41 at Bowling Green

The game of the week was Memphis vs. Bowling Green, and both head coaches may be on Mike Thomas's radar this offseason. Fuente came out the winner of a close 44-41 contest where his team scored 27 second-half points to emerge as the victors. The Tigers will take on the Cincinnati Bearcats this week on ESPN.

Dino Babers, Bowling Green (1-2)

Week 3 Result: Loss, 44-41 versus Memphis

Babers was on the flip side of the Memphis-Bowling Green thriller, losing narrowly to Fuente's Tigers. The Falcons are now a game under .500 on the season, but they've certainly passed the eye test; they led at Tennessee before a lengthy lightning delay and pulled off an upset victory at Maryland. There's no shame in losing to an undefeated Memphis team, but Babers will have to string together some conference victories if he is to be considered for the head coaching gig. The Falcons will take on another Big Ten foe as they travel to West Lafayette this coming weekend to play Purdue.

Bo Pelini, Youngstown State (2-1)

Week 3 Result: Win, 48-3 versus Saint Francis

The Penguins have won two in a row after dropping the season opener to Pitt. Pelini's squad dominated Saint Francis in every facet of the game, totaling 471 yards and holding the Red Flash to only 87 yards on offense. They'll travel to South Dakota this coming Saturday to take on the the Coyotes.

Jeff Brohm, Western Kentucky (2-1)

Week 3 Result: Loss, 38-35 at Indiana

Brohm, a recent addition to this list, had his team prepared to go to 3-0 before a furious second-half Indiana comeback handed Western Kentucky its first loss of the season. The Hilltoppers went into halftime with an eleven point lead, but the Hoosiers came out of the locker room and scored three straight touchdowns to go up by ten. Defense was nowhere to be found in this game as each team topped over 550 yards of total offense. Western Kentucky takes on Miami (Ohio) in week four.

Brock Spack, Illinois State (2-1)

Week 3 Result: Win, 34-31 versus Eastern Illinois

The Redbirds took home state bragging rights over Eastern Illinois Saturday night, winning by an overtime field goal to cap off the victory. Illinois State went up by a touchdown with only six minutes remaining, but EIU came right back and scored a touchdown of their own with 1:48 left in regulation. The game went to OT where Redbird kicker Sean Slattery knocked through a 32-yard field goal for the win. Spack's team will take on Northern Iowa this coming weekend.

Rod Carey, Northern Illinois (2-1)

Week 2 Result: Loss, 20-13 at Ohio State

The Huskies pushed No. 1 Ohio State to their limit Saturday afternoon, forcing two Cardale Jones interceptions and his eventual exit from the game. JT Barrett came in and threw another INT, but the Buckeyes were able to hold off Northern Illinois by a touchdown. It was an incredibly impressive showing by Rod Carey's program, however, to keep the game as close as it was. Ohio State was only able to seal the victory with a minute remaining after Huskies QB Drew Hare threw four straight incomplete passes.


If you're keeping track, that's a 4-4 record for the candidates during Week Three. Think we've left anybody off the list? Drop by in the comments below and tell us what you think!