Illinois quarterback Luke Altmyer throws to wide receiver Isaiah Williams...

Illinois quarterback Luke Altmyer throws to wide receiver Isaiah Williams during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Penn State, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Champaign, Ill. Credit: AP/Charles Rex Arbogast

Florida Atlantic (1-2) at Illinois (1-2), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)

Line: Illinois by 15 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: First meeting.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

After a disappointing 30-13 loss last week to Penn State, the Illini want to get their season back on track before they dive headlong into Big Ten play. Florida Atlantic lost 48-14 to Clemson last week and also lost starting QB Casey Thompson, a former starter at Texas and Nebraska, for the season when he tore his ACL. Now it’s up to Central Michigan transfer Daniel Richardson to guide the Owls’ offense.

KEY MATCHUP

Illinois offense vs. Florida Atlantic defense. Illinois QB Luke Altmyer threw four interceptions vs. Penn State and the Illini rushed for just 62 yards. The Florida Atlantic defense has playmakers in DB Darius McClendon (No. 12 nationally in fumbles forced) and DB Jarron Morris (No. 8 in passes defended).

Illinois wide receiver Isaiah Williams runs the ball during the...

Illinois wide receiver Isaiah Williams runs the ball during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kansas Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, in Lawrence, Kan. Kansas won 34-23. Credit: AP/Charlie Riedel

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Florida Atlantic: Receiver LaJohntay Wester has caught 30 passes. The other 14 Florida Atlantic receivers have a total of 42 receptions. Wester is averaging 10 catches per game, which ranks him second nationally. The junior had 12 catches for 108 yards vs. Clemson and became Florida Atlantic’s all-time receptions leader with 174.

Illinois: Isaiah Williams is one of the most reliable receivers in the nation. He’s caught at least one pass in all 28 games since he switched from quarterback prior to the 2021 season and he has at least three catches in 17 straight games. He’s second in the Big Ten in receptions (16) and his 11 first-down catches is tied for second in the Big Ten.

FACTS & FIGURES

Florida Atlantic wide receiver LaJohntay Wester runs with the ball...

Florida Atlantic wide receiver LaJohntay Wester runs with the ball during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Clemson, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Clemson, S.C. Credit: AP/Jacob Kupferman

Illinois’ Jer’Zhan Newton had seven quarterback pressures vs. Penn State, the most by a Power Five defensive tackle in a game this season. ... Keith Randolph Jr., Newton’s partner in their two-man “Law Firm,” leads the nation in tackles by a defensive lineman (20). ... This is Florida Atlantic’s first season in the American Athletic Conference. Illinois is 6-4 all-time against teams currently in the conference. ... Florida Atlantic is 1-2 against teams from the state of Illinois. The Owls lost twice to Eastern Illinois and QB Tony Romo. ... Florida Atlantic caused a stir when the team gathered at midfield on the paw logo at Clemson before the game. Coach Tom Herman said that’s how his team ends its pre-game warmup, home or away.

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