By Chris JohnsonIllinois fans will have their eyes on the Illini basketball team for the next few months, and it’s not because the program is about to lose its star quarterback.
The Illini have won six consecutive games, with the lone blemish coming a heartbreaking overtime loss to UCLA on Saturday.
The team has lost just one of its last six, with a win over Wisconsin on Monday the only loss on the slate.
The Illini are now 2-1 in conference play and in the midst of a four-game winning streak.
It all started when quarterback Marcus Harris was injured.
The senior was hurt in a tackle-breaking play that put him on the sideline.
Harris was ruled out of the game with a leg injury and the Illinis went to a third-and-5 on the first play of the fourth quarter.
But they weren’t finished there.
The Huskies blitzed to the Illies 1-yard line and got a first down on the next play.
The ball went out of bounds, and the Huskies had no timeouts.
They had to kick a field goal.
The game was tied at 16, and Harris was taken to the locker room with a nasty neck injury.
He was taken off the field.
Thats when the rest of the offense did what they do.
They got the Illiiscans offense going.
Harris was replaced by sophomore running back Malik Zaire.
Zaire is a senior, so his role was more in passing, but it didn’t hurt the offense much.
The Huskies offense did well.
They scored 14 points on four drives, and ran for a touchdown on the second play of that drive.
But on the third drive, the Huskers took over.
They marched down the field for a 28-yard field goal, capped off by a score from senior running back Dwayne Thomas.
The Bruins were finally stopped.
The Bears had no chance, as they ran out the clock on the Huski offense.
The Bears are 1-1 on the season, and a win against the Illis will put the Bears back in the mix for the Big Ten title.
They are also 5-0 against the league’s top 10 teams, which would make them the favorite to win the conference.
Illinois is in the top four in the Big 12.
It would make the conference’s first-ever national title game.
The team is coming off of a 35-20 victory against Texas Tech.
Illini players are not allowed to participate in recruiting events during the season.