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Joe Spencer Injury Update: Illinois Football center "feeling 100%” for North Carolina game

Welcome to the Orange Minute for Wednesday, September 7.

Illinois v Purdue Photo by Cory Seward/Getty Images

Fighting Illini football appears set to have a team captain return to the field this weekend. Senior center Joe Spencer (knee) informed reporters on Tuesday that he’s "feeling 100%" ahead of Illinois’ big home game against the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Spencer was held out of the season opener as a precautionary method. His return to field means Nick Allegretti will slide back to his usual spot at guard, bumping true-freshman Darta Lee out of the starting lineup in the process.

Illinois Fighting Illini Links

- Four-star WR Kamryn Babb will visit Champaign on Saturday (TCR)

According to 247Sports, Babb is the No. 86 overall player and No. 12 receiver in the class-of-2018. The St. Louis native already has scholarships from several major programs, including Ohio State, Michigan State, Nebraska, Iowa, LSU, Ole Miss, and Arkansas.

- Like father, like son: Nickersons setting tone for Illini (Associated Press)

"We tried to put together the best possible staff, which we were able to do, and then once you get the dad and later on it works out where we could get a football player in young Hardy Nickerson, just a cherry on top," [Lovie] Smith said.

- Lovie Smith, Illini prepare for major challenge (The News-Gazette)

This is easily the most anticipated nonconference home game for the program since Illinois beat then-No. 22 Arizona State 17-14 in 2011, the last win Illinois had against a ranked foe.

- Despite stats, Illini want more from running game (Pantagraph)

"It probably had more to do with me," said [Garrick] McGee, who admitted his original strategy may have been a bit off-target. "I really wanted to start the game with compressed, heavy sets and get the game under control and establish ourselves as the more physical, dominant team."