CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) First-year offensive coordinator Rod Smith's up-tempo, spread offense has created some big opportunities for Illinois, which has contributed to a solid 2-1 record going into Friday's conference opener at home against No. 10 Penn State.
No one has benefited more from Smith's complex system than sophomore running back Mike Epstein.
Epstein, a 6-foot, 200-pounder from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, suffered a fractured foot in game five last year and missed the remainder of the season. He's bounced back to become the team's most effective playmaker thus far this season.