(AP) Illinois (2-0) plays at No. 22 South Florida (2-0) on Friday 7 p.m. (ESPN) .
Line: South Florida by 17½.READ MORE: Carjacker Steals Car With Two Children Inside From South Shore Gas Station
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
South Florida aims to tie school record eight-game winning streak, as well as beat a Big Ten opponent for first time. The Bulls’ return to action after last week’s American Athletic Conference opener at Connecticut was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma. Illinois looking to start 3-0 for first time in six years and get it first nonconference road win since beating Syracuse in 2007.
USF dual-threat QB Quinton Flowers leads an offense that’s scored at least 30 points in a nation-leading 19 consecutive games. He’s off to a relatively slow start in throwing for 398 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 137 and one TD through two games. He figures to present a challenge for an Illini defense that held Western Kentucky to 6 yards rushing but has yet to face a QB as elusive as Flowers.READ MORE: 2 Killed, 5 Wounded In Chicago Weekend Shootings
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Illinois: RB Mike Epstein is coming off his first 100-yard rushing performance against Western Kentucky and had 105 all-purpose yards in the Illini’s season-opening win over Ball State. QB Chayce Crouch has thrown for 252 yards, one TD and two interceptions.
South Florida: RB Darius Tice leads the Bulls in rushing with 151 yards and 3 TDs. WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling has 10 receptions for 106 yards and 1 TD.
FACTS & FIGURES
The nationally televised game is a homecoming of sorts for Illinois coach Lovie Smith, who coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons before being fired and taking over at Illinois after the 2015 season. … USF plays its home games in Raymond James Stadium, home of the Bucs. … The Bulls are 0-5 all-time against Big Ten teams, losing to Penn State in 2005, Michigan State in 2013, Wisconsin in 2014 and Maryland in 2014 and 2015. … Illinois is 2-0 for the fourth start in five years. The Illini need one win to match last year’s victory total.MORE NEWS: Celebrating Black History Makers: Liz Abunaw Is Working To Conquer Food Inequality With Forty Acres Fresh Market
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