Illinois Staff Doesn't See Need to Name Starter Before Game Against Northwestern


CHAMPAIGN -- They're playing their cards close to the vest downstate.

Saturday's go-to-a-bowl-or-go-home game between Illinois and Northwestern will have no shortage of quarterback intrigue.

Northwestern will start junior Zack Oliver, after senior starter Trevor Siemien tore his ACL in the Wildcats' 38-14 win over Purdue.

Illinois, meanwhile, isn't going to make clear exactly who will start, who will play, or when they'll use whom.

"It's really a great scenario or situation we have here, because we have three capable quarterbacks," said Illinois head coach Tim Beckman.

Like they did in Saturday's 16-14 win over Penn State, Illinois plans to use the entire trio of Wes Lunt, Reilly O'Toole and Aaron Bailey in Evanston.

"It probably doesn't really make sense to say anything more," said offensive coordinator Bill Cubit, "because (Northwestern) has got to prepare for three of them."

While the staff said that was part of the plan less week, how the trio was used was based less on confusing their opponent, and more on the inconsistencies with the offense.

Lunt led the first six offense series for Illinois last week, but only managed 59 yards on 22 snaps -- and zero points.

Both Lunt and O'Toole have taken first team reps in practice this week, and both will likely see time in Saturday's regular season finale.

Illinois and Northwestern kick off at 11am CT.

Current Conditions