Three players to watch: Illinois

Here are three players who could come up big today against Illinois when the Hoosiers face the Illini at 3:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

With different games this season, there will be two or three Indiana players that we think could come up especially big.

Here's three Indiana players in particular to keep an eye on today against Illinois.

1.Nate Sudfeld: Will the real Nate Sudfeld please step forward? Sudfeld's statistics are representative but he hasn't looked as sharp and consistent in recent game as he did earlier in the year. Some of that is the level of competition. But Sudfeld needs to regain that edge that had him entrenched as one of the top quarterbacks in the league.

Sudfeld leads in the Big Ten in passing touchdowns with 16, he's second in yards per completion at 13 and third in completions per game at 17.4. His completion percentage is at 60.4 percent which is fourth in the Big Ten but is still a number that needs to be higher for Indiana to continue to get sustain drives on third down. He has 1,915 passing yards this season which also ranks fourth in the Big Ten. The one thing that is clear about Sudfeld is IU fans still expect him to have a bigger breakout game than he has to this point and an opponent like Illinois could afford him that opportunity.

2. David Cooper: Indiana's defense needs a veteran player to step up and make an impact today. Cooper could be the guy. Last year against Illinois, Cooper had seven tackles and a sack against the Illini.

A year ago, Cooper's name was being called on the IU radio broadcasts a lot more because he seemed to be around the ball all the time. He had nine tackles for loss and three sacks. This season he has 2.5 tackles for loss and just a half of a sack in eight games. For Indiana to win today, the defense has to put the kind of pressure on Nathan Scheelhaase that it did a year ago when it sacked the Illini quarterback seven times. Cooper could be a big part of that charge today.

3.Tevin Coleman: Coleman is coming off a big game statistically against Minnesota last week but he needs to put back-to-back games together. He had 108 yards rushing against the Golden Gophers to record his third 100-yard rushing game of his career.

Coleman is in position to become Indiana's first 1,000-yard running back since Levron Williams in 2001. Coleman has 743 yards rushing and has scored 10 touchdowns on the ground in eight games. He has also scored at least one touchdown in every game this season. Coleman needs to get much closer to the 1,000 yard rushing mark today and keep his TD streak alive for the Hoosiers to have the best chance to be successful against Illinois.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch


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