Illinois and UCLA enter the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl looking to bring a positive end to what has been a disappointing year for both schools. The Illini were reached bowl eligibility in early October with their sixth win of the season but have not won a game since then. UCLA is the first college football team in a decade to earn a bowl bid with a losing record. Both schools fired their head coaches at the end of the regular season.
It figures to be a close game, and a low-scoring one, if Illinois has anything to say about it. The Illini have had trouble moving the football all season, but their defense has is among the nation's best.
UCLA is a bit better offensively, and the Bruins would like to run the football a lot if possible -- they averaged about 40 carries and 24 passing attempts per game in the regular season. Illinois' defense is allowing just 3.3 yards per carry, a figure that ranks 17th nationally. If the Illini can limit UCLA's ground game, there's a good chance they'll be able to limit UCLA's scoring as well.
On the other side of the ball, Illinois is up against a soft UCLA run defense, which could allow the Illini to establish more offensive consistency than they've had in weeks.
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.