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Illinois Fighting Illini players to watch, stat study ahead of Michigan’s trip to Champaign

The Fighting Illini may rank poorly in most categories, but they still have a few talented players to keep an eye on versus Michigan.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Northwestern Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The 4-1 Michigan Wolverines are set to take on the 2-3 Illinois Fighting Illini in Champaign on Saturday. Illinois ranks near the bottom of the barrel in most metrics, but they still have a couple players on both sides of the ball that are talented and could have a future in the NFL.

Today we’ll be looking at Illinois’ team stats and the players to watch on the Fighting Illini.

Team Stats

  • Total Offense- 103rd
  • Total Defense- 96th
  • Red Zone Offense- 52nd
  • Red Zone Defense- 106th
  • Time of Possession- 118th
  • Team Passing Efficiency- 103rd
  • Sacks Allowed- 110th
  • Scoring Offense- 57th
  • Scoring Defense- 81st
  • Passing Yards per Completion- 112th
  • Passing Offense- 109th
  • Rushing Offense- 63rd
  • Rushing Defense- 98th
  • Passes Intercepted-66th
  • Passed Had Intercepted- 57th
  • 3rd Down Conversion Pct- 72nd
  • Team Sacks- 22nd
  • Sacks Allowed- 110th

Players to Watch

QB Brandon Peters

  • Peters status is up in the air for this game, and it’s sounding like he may be doubtful unfortunately. However, Peters has put together a respectable season for Illinois, ranking in the top-35 nationally and top-5 in the Big Ten in passing touchdowns (10) and points responsible for (72).
NCAA Football: Nebraska at Illinois Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

QB Matt Robinson

  • If Peters can’t go, it’ll be Robinson. On the year, Robinson is 16-for-32 for 156 yards.

RB Reggie Corbin

  • 6.59 yards per carry, which ranks third in the Big Ten and 24th in FBS. Last season, he ranked third in FBS in yards per carry (8.48)
  • Ranks 29th in FBS and fourth in the Big Ten in rushing yards per game (95.5)
  • Has the 4th-best offensive grade among running backs in the nation according to Pro Football Focus (86.7).
  • Career rushing numbers: 290 carries, 2,068 yards, 7.1 yards per carry, 14 touchdowns.
  • Ranks 24th in FBS and third in B1G in yards per carry (6.59)
  • Ranks 29th in FBS and fourth in B1G in yards per game (95.5)
  • Has two 100-yards games this season (144 vs. EMU and 134 vs. NEB) and six career 100-yard games.
  • Led FBS in runs of 70+ yards (4), second in runs of 50+ (7) and 80+ yards (1), and third in 60+ (5) in 2018.
  • Career yards per carry of 7.13 ranks third among all active FBS player with at least 200 carries.
  • Has had 10 scrimmage plays over 50 yards in his career, all coming against Big Ten competition.
NCAA Football: Illinois at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

WR Josh Imatorbhebhe

  • A USC transfer, Imatorbhebhe has 15 receptions for 220 yards and 4 touchdowns. Imatorbhebhe stands 6-foot-2, 215 pounds and possesses big play ability.

DE Oluwole Betiku Jr.

  • Ranks third in the nation in both sacks (1.4 per game) and TFLs (2.1 per game) on the season.
  • His 7.0 sacks already are more than or equal to Illinois’ season leader in 18 of the last 23 seasons.
  • His 3.5 sacks at UConn tied for the fifth-most sacks in a game in Illinois history and marked the first Illini with 3.0+ sacks in a game since 2011.

LB Jake Hansen

  • No. 16 graded linebacker in the nation and No. 2 in the Big Ten by PFF (81.6).
  • Leads the nation in both forced fumbles (4) and fumbles recovered (3) .
  • 39 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, and one interception.
NCAA Football: Illinois at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

LB Dele Harding

  • 15 tackles at Minnesota
  • Leads the Big Ten and ranks sixth in FBS in tackles per game this season (11.2).
  • Had a 40-yard pick-six against Minnesota

For more Michigan-Illinois game notes, click here, where much of the players to watch information was provided.