Great news, Illini fans. Head coach Tim Beckman said Monday starting quarterback Wes Lunt is expected to return to action… for Illinois’ game with Iowa on November 15.
There is the little matter of a visit to No. 13 Ohio State on Saturday night where Lunt will not be available, but this is good news nonetheless.
“Great. Awesome,” Beckman said of Lunt to the Chicago Sun-Times. “We feel like there is a great possibility [for him] to be back after the open [week].”
Lunt was lost for four-to-six weeks with a leg fracture suffered during the Illini’s loss 38-27 loss to Purdue on Oct. 4.
In all actuality, the Ohio State game is more than likely a loss regardless of Lunt’s availability. But getting him back for the home stretch is absolutely critical.
The Illini will need to win two of their final three games (assuming a loss to the Buckeyes) to reach a bowl game, more than likely a requirement to push the three-year Beckman era to four. Beckman is 10-22 at Illinois and 2-18 against the Big Ten, but reaching six wins would represent continued progress from his 2-10 debut and 4-8 follow-up in 2013.
Lunt leads the team with 1,569 passing yards and 15 touchdowns on 127-of-191 passing. Reilly O’Toole has received the bulk of the action in Lunt’s absence; he’s completed 127-of-191 passes for 1,569 yards with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions and rushed for 75 additional yards with one touchdown.