Beutjer named starter again

Online Poster

Online Poster

By Lisa Koulias

After a subpar performance by his star quarterback on Saturday against Wisconsin, Illinois head coach Ron Turner waited to decide who would start this weekend’s game against Michigan State.

But after reviewing tape and evaluating the performances of the three Illinois quarterbacks who played in Illinois’ loss to the Badgers, Turner decided to stick with the familiar candidate, Jon Beutjer.

“We’re going to go with Beutjer,” Turner said. “Obviously we took some time to think about it and look at what he’s done. We went back and looked at some film. Jon’s done a lot of very good things up to this point. He missed some throws on Saturday – obviously that we would have liked to have him make – so we decided to make a change to see if we could get something going.

“But just looking at what Jon’s done, I have a lot of confidence in him; and I think the football team has a lot of confidence in him, and I feel that Jon gives us the best chance to go out and win.”

Beutjer was taken out of the game in the third quarter after he was just 12-of-27 passing for 85 yards. He was replaced by redshirt freshman Brad Bower who was 1-of-4 passing. Sophomore Chris Pazan was the most efficient of the three, completing 7-of-10 passes for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Because of Pazan’s play on Saturday – his first playing time of the year- Turner bumped him up to backup for Beutjer. Pazan split time last season with Dustin Ward when Beutjer was injured during the second half of the season. He saw action in six games and started in two.

“I would say going into this game that Chris will be our backup,” Turner said. “I think Brad still has a role, it just depends what is going on. But right now I would say Chris is the backup.”

Loss of Lonnie

Sophomore Lonnie Hurst, who was injured late in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game, is expected to be out at least a few weeks, Turner said. At Monday’s press conference, test results from Hurst’s MRI were not known, but Turner said he knew it was an ACL-related injury.

“He will be out at least a few weeks,” Turner said. “That would probably be the best-case scenario. They have a pretty good handle of what it is. It’s an ACL, but to what degree we don’t know.”

DaJuan Warren, Spencer Jensen or Mark Kornfeld will replace Hurst, who played backup for wide receiver Kendrick Jones.

Giving way to accolades

For the second week in a row, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week came from a team that has faced the Illini defense. In their Big Ten opener against Purdue, the Illini watched Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton complete 35-of-50 passes for 366 yards.

Against Wisconsin, the Illini defense allowed running back Anthony Davis to break loose for 213 yards, rushing on 27 carries for three touchdowns.