The task ahead got a little tougher for Illinois when the school announced on Friday that running back Jason Ford and wide receiver Jake Kumerow have been ruled academically ineligible for the 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Kumerow's absence may not hurt too much -- he did not have a reception until the final game of the regular season -- but Ford was the team's leading rusher.
Ford is Illinois' leading rusher in 2011 with 600 yards on 155 carries (3.9 ypc) and seven touchdowns. He finishes his career 1,962 career rushing yards, which ranks 16th on the all-time Illinois rushing list, and 26 career rushing touchdowns, which is second in Illinois history behind only Howard Griffith's school record of 31.
With Ford out, the carries likely will end up in the hands of Troy Pollard and Donovonn Young.
For more, keep tabs on SB Nation Chicago and SB Nation's NCAA football page. For more on the Fighting Illini, check out Hail to the Orange, SB Nation's Illinois Fighting Illini blog. For more on UCLA, head over to Bruins Nation.