Indiana Faces Illinois in Primetime
Oct. 13, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana football team faces its second road test of the season against Illinois at Memorial Stadium (65,000) on Saturday, Oct. 18. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CDT/8 p.m. EDT and the game will be televised by the Big Ten Network.
IU enters the contest at 2-4 on the season and 0-3 in the Big Ten, while the Fighting Illini sit at 3-3 overall with a 1-2 league mark. Illinois dropped a 27-20 decision to Minnesota in Champaign, Ill., last weekend. Illini quarterback Juice Williams broke a Memorial Stadium record with 503 total yards (462 passing). Arrelious Benn set career highs with 12 catches for 181 yards.
Williams' favorite target is sophomore Arrelious Benn, who is second in the Big Ten and 15th nationally with 93.8 yards per game. He has caught 37 balls for 563 yards and two scores. Benn is also a dangerous returner, averaging 15.7 yards per kick return and 9.8 yards per punt return. His 842 all-purpose yards are fourth in the league.
The Fighting Illini defense is surrendering 29.2 points, 152.5 rushing, 208.7 passing and 361.2 total yards per game. Illinois has 16 sacks, eight fumble recoveries and three interceptions this season. Senior linebacker Brit Miller leads the league in tackles (61) and paces the team in tackles for loss (12.5), sacks (four) and forced fumbles (two) in addition to one interception and one fumble recovery. Junior cornerback Vontae Davis is an All-America candidate and leads the Illini with seven pass breakups to go along with 46 tackles, 4.5 TFLs and one fumble recovery.
Ron Zook is 16-26 in his fourth season at Illinois and 39-40 overall in his eighth year. Zook is 1-2 against Indiana.
The Illinois Series
Additionally, Curt Mallory is the Fighting Illini's co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach. The son of Indiana's all-time winningest coach, Bill Mallory, Curt served as the Hoosiers' secondary coach from 2002-04 and as a graduate assistant during the 1993-94 campaigns. Curt was also on Bill Lynch's staff at Ball State (1995-00) as linebackers coach (1995-99) as well as secondary coach (2000).
The Orlando native also matched a career-high with 10 tackles and seven solo stops to go along with 3.5 tackles for loss, the second-best total of his career, vs. the Gophers. With his two tackles for loss vs. the Hawkeyes, Kirlew now has nine multi-TFL games in his career, four this season and three in a row (three vs. Michigan State). He leads the team with six sacks, 11 tackles for loss and 35 tackles on the year.
Kirlew shares ninth nationally and is tied for second in the Big Ten in sacks, and he is tied for fourth nationally and third in the league in tackles for loss. In league action only, Kirlew paces the Big Ten with 8.5 tackles for loss and is second with 3.5 sacks.
In addition to his takeaways, Polk is third on the team with 32 tackles and 25 solo stops. Since returning from a knee injury at Minnesota, the Milwaukee native leads the team with 18 tackles and 14 solos to go along with his forced fumble and one tackle for loss.
Polk scooped up a fumble and raced it back 31 yards for a score against Ball State. It was the Hoosiers' first fumble returned for a TD since Tracy Porter scampered 71 yards against Michigan State on Oct. 13 last season. It was also IU's first defensive score since Christopher Phillips returned an interception 58 yards vs. Ball State on Nov. 3, 2007.
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