Illinois names Wes Lunt its starting quarterback

Illinois names Wes Lunt its starting quarterback

By Tom Fornelli | Staff Writer
Wes Lunt transferred to Illinois from Oklahoma State.
Wes Lunt transferred to Illinois from Oklahoma State. (USATSI)

The quarterback competition at Illinois is over, as coach Tim Beckman announced Wednesday that Wes Lunt will be the team's starting quarterback when Illinois opens its season against Youngstown State in 10 days.

The decision doesn't come as much of a surprise, as it seems Lunt has been the starting quarterback for Illinois in 2014 ever since he announced he was transferring there from Oklahoma State last year. Lunt earned the starting job with the Cowboys as a true freshman in 2012, but lost it after going down with an injury. In his six games with Oklahoma State Lunt threw for 1,108 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions.

He had been competing with senior Reilly O'Toole and sophomore Aaron Bailey for the job with the Illini.

Lunt should excel in Illinois' offense this season, but odds are it won't be Lunt who decides whether or not the Illini can get back to a bowl game after going 1-15 in Big Ten play the last two seasons. After all, the Illinois offense managed to score 30 points per game last season and finished No. 35 in the nation in passing efficiency. The problem in Champaign was a defense that allowed 35.4 points per game.

If those numbers on defense don't improve it won't matter how well Lunt performs in the starting role. The Illini will be in for another long season.

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March 24, 2017


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