Tim Beckman's first season as coach of the Illinois Fighting Illini (2-7, 0-5) has not gone as hoped, but the team can end the season on a high note as it nears its conclusion. That can start this Saturday when they host the Minnesota Golden Gophers (5-4, 1-4), who have lost four of five games and are clinging to a winning record.
Both the Illini and Gophers were thumped last week by traditional powers, with Illinois losing 52-22 to the Ohio State Buckeyes and Minnesota falling 35-13 to the Michigan Wolverines. Minnesota's lone conference win came on Oct. 27 over the Purdue Boilermakers, but the team is in position to become bowl eligible.
The Illini enter the game at or near the absolute bottom of the conference in every major offensive category, but will be facing a Minnesota defense that is in the bottom half of most categories, with the exception of passing defense.
Game time, TV channel: 3:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Online streaming video: BTN2Go
Point spread: Minnesota favored by 2.5 points
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