ILLINOIS: Four Days and Counting

Everyone knows about Illini quarterback Juice Williams, one of the nation's leaders in total offense. But there are many other players for the Hoosiers to be concerned about on the Illini roster. HoosierNation.com looks at some of those players as we continue our day-by-day preview of this weekend's match-up with "Four Names to Know" about the Illini…

Arrellious Benn, WR – the Illini passing attack has gone from 11th in the conference to No. 1 in just one season, and this dynamic sophomore is quarterback Juice Williams' top target. A highly-celebrated recruit last year, Benn ranks second in the Big Ten with 6.2 catches/game, the most for an Illini wideout in 23 years (David Williams, 1985 7.7/game). He has also recorded at least 100 yards receiving in each of Illinois' three Big Ten games (four catches, 110 yards at Penn State; 6-122 at Michigan; 12-181 vs. Minnesota), and he'll be trying to become the first Illinois player to ever have four straight 100-yard games this weekend. The 6-2, 214-pounder was the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year last season, but IU held him in check, limiting him to five catches for 50 yards and four carries for 22 yards.

Will Davis, DE – IU quarterback Kellen Lewis might still be having nightmares about Davis, who sacked Lewis four times in last year's 27-14 Illini win in Bloomington. He also had five tackles for loss and a forced fumble, which easily made it the biggest game of Davis' career. This 6-3, 268-pounder earned second-team All-Big Ten honors last year and totaled 9 ½ sacks, 12 ½ tackles for loss and 41 tackles. Davis was hoping for another highly-productive campaign this fall, but he's been slow out of the gate with only two sacks and 4 ½ tackles for loss in six games. He's been even more ineffective since league play opened, totaling only eight tackles, one tackle for loss and zero sacks.

Daniel Dufrene, RB – The Hoosiers are glad to see Rashard Mendenhall has departed for the NFL, but they'll still have their hands full trying to keep Dufrene in check this weekend. Dufrene isn't putting up the same sort of numbers that Mendenhall did a year ago, but he still ranks seventh in the Big Ten with 79.7 yards/game to go along with 5.7 yards/carry as the Illini's primary tailback. Dufrene will be looking to get untracked after a couple of relatively sub-par games in the last two weeks. Against Michigan two weeks ago he was limited to 46 yards rushing on 15 carries, and he followed that up with a 10-carry, 36-yard afternoon in Saturday's loss to Minnesota. In three Big Ten games he's averaging only 58.7 rushing/game, down considerably from the non-conference slate when he averaged 100 yards rushing in games against Missouri (75), Louisiana Lafayette (126) and Eastern Illinois (99).

Xavier Fulton, LT – A year ago, the 6-5, 300-pound Fulton was considered a bit of a question mark early on because he had made the move from defensive tackle to offensive tackle and was making his first Big Ten start against the Hoosiers. But Fulton helped the Illini run for 288 yards against IU, and he's blossomed into one of the best offensive tackles in the country. A consensus preseason first-team All-Big Ten pick, Fulton is also a Lombardi award candidate this season. He combines tremendous size with very good athleticism, and he'll be entrusted with protecting Juice Williams' backside and keeping Hoosier defensive end Greg Middleton from getting untracked.

What's coming up:
On Monday - Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday Four Names to Know
On Wednesday – Three Key Match-Ups
On Thursday – Two Big Concerns
On Friday – One Bold Prediction


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