Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Football: Cubit steadies Illinois after tumultuous offseason

Interim head coach has Fighting Illini at 5-2
Marissa Haegele

For a program with three consecutive losing seasons, the University of Illinois football team was hoping for different results.

That initiative took a significant hit when the university fired former head coach Tim Beckman one week before the season, amid allegations he pressured players to play hurt.

So in stepped Bill Cubit, the Illini’s former offensive coordinator.


During Beckman’s tenure as head coach, Illinois went 12-25, with a loss in the Heart of Dallas Bowl last season to Louisiana Tech. The team never finished with more than six wins with him at the helm.

This season, the Fighting Illini (4-2) are within two wins of that single-season threshold. And between the drama of losing their head coach just a week before the start of the season, Cubit has his team in third place in the Big Ten West (1-1).

The play of Illinois thus far drew the praise of Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst, especially given the situation it was thrust into.

“I think that is really unique, I give them credit, because I think they’re focusing on the season, and they’re playing well,” Chryst said. “So whatever it is they’re doing, I think you’ve got to tip your hat to them.”

After a blowout loss on the road to North Carolina, Illinois rebounded with a fourth-quarter comeback victory over Nebraska. Illinois then put up a good fight against Iowa, but fell 29-20.

To expose the Illini defense, the Badgers will rely once again on the arm of Joel Stave. The fifth-year senior quarterback will lead the offense against the second-worst passing defense in the league (256.5 yards per game).

“Watching them on film, they looked like an improved team from year’s past,” Stave said. “It’ll be fun to see what they do.”

Stave also praised the Illini’s resiliency throughout the coaching change.

“It’s cool the way that they’ve rallied around their new coach and their team,” Stave said.

The Wisconsin passing defense doesn’t fair much better, yielding 251 yards per game through the air. Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt, who has thrown for nine touchdowns in 2015, takes care of the ball, throwing only two interceptions this season.

Game information

Where: Champaign, Illinois, Memorial Stadium (60,670)

When: 2:30 p.m.

TV: Big Ten Network (Kevin Kugler, Mat Millen, Lisa Byington)

Radio: Badger Sports Network (Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas, Patrick Herb)

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