Saturday's contest will be the 61st meeting between the Indiana Hoosiers and Illinois Fighting Illini in the 105-year series history. Illinois leads the all-time series 40-17-3, and has the advantage in games in Bloomington with a 13-10-1 mark. The Illini have won the last three meetings and are 4-2 over the Hoosiers during the Turner era. The Illini lead the Big Ten with the sixth-toughest schedule nationally according to the latest Sagarin ratings. Six of Illinois' losses this season have come to currently ranked teams and seven of Illinois' scheduled opponents have been ranked in the Top-25 at some point during the season. Missouri, Purdue, Michigan State, Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa have a combined record of 43-12 (.781). Eight of Illinois' 11 Division-IA opponents are currently bowl eligible. Of junior wide receiver Mark Kornfeld's 40 catches this season, 27 have converted first downs (67.5 percent). Sophomore punter Steve Weatherford currently has a 44.4 punting average, which ranks second in the Big Ten and 13th nationally. He is on pace to break the 56-year-old single-season punting yardage average record of 43.0, which is held by Dike Eddleman from the 1948 season. Illinois has six members of its roster hailing from the state of Indiana, including starting punter Steve Weatherford (Terre Haute) and tight end Melvin Bryant (Muncie). Illini linebacker coach Mike Mallory is the son of longtime Indiana coach Bill Mallory and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Hoosiers during the 1986-87 seasons. Hoosiers' defensive coordinator Tim Kish was on the Illini staff from 1997-2000. This weekend's contest against Indiana will be the 11th televised game for the Illini this season and the 15th in a row, dating back to ESPN's telecast of the Illinois/Penn State game on Nov. 2, 2002. This is the first time in school history Illinois has had 11 games in one season broadcast to either national or regional audiences. Only five conference teams have had every game to this point televised (Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State).
THE COACHES' CORNER
Ron Turner, Illinois (32-47 in his seventh year at Illinois, 39-51 overall, 19-35 in the Big Ten). Turner is 4-2 against Indiana during his seven-year career. Illinois enjoys a three-game winning streak over the Hoosiers with the only losses coming in 1997 and 1999. Turner earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 2001 after leading Illinois to the Big Ten championship and a trip to the Nokia Sugar Bowl and its first 10-win season since 1989. The league title was the Illini's first since 1990. Turner has served as quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator or head coach since 1981. During that time he coached quarterbacks such as Jeff Garcia, Erik Kramer, Jim Harbaugh, Sean Salisbury, Rodney Peete and Kurt Kittner. Turner led the Illini to an 8-4 record and a 63-21 thumping of Virginia in the Micronpc.com Bowl in 1999. For his efforts, Turner finished fourth in the Associated Press Coach of the Year voting. Turner came to Illinois after a four-year stint as the offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears (1993-96). In 1992, he was the head coach for San Jose State where he turned in a 7-4 record and a second-place finish in the Big West Conference. Turner served as an assistant at Stanford, Texas A&M, Southern California, Pittsburgh, Northwestern and Arizona working mainly with quarterbacks and receivers during his 20+ years in college coaching.
JERRY DINARDO, INDIANA - (4-17 in his second year at Indiana; 55-64-1 in his 11 year collegiate coaching career) DiNardo is in his second season at the helm of the Indiana football program. He became the Hoosier coach after stints at LSU and Vanderbilt. He took LSU to three bowls during his career and has been a part of two national championship teams with Colorado as an assistant and Notre Dame as a player. DiNardo is 0-1 against the Illini, following a 45-14 loss in 2002.