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Ryan Lankford likely out for season with shoulder injury

Updated: November 28, 2013 7:02AM

CHAMPAIGN — Ryan Lankford is expected to be out for the season with a shoulder injury, Illini coach Tim Beckman said.

“Honestly, he’s probably gone for the season,’’ Beckman said. “He will be a big loss. He’s one of our true deep threats.’’

Lankford, whose 20.4 yards per catch ranked 12th in the nation, was drilled on a reverse gone wrong. With Steve Hull, whose 21.6 yards per catch ranked eighth nationally, sidelined by a head injury, Illinois’ receiver corps was hurting.

“[Lankford] is the one speed guy we’ve got,’’ ­offensive coordinator Bill Cubit said. “When Steve Hull was out, he’s the other speed guy we’ve got. That’s not an excuse. The next guy has to step up and go play.’’

Tough numbers

“We couldn’t stop them on third down,’’ Beckman said. “They were 14 of 16 on third down. Are you kidding me?’’

◆Illinois has allowed 137 points (45.7 per game) in its first three Big Ten games — 39 to Nebraska, 56 to Wisconsin and 42 to MSU.

‘We’re a good team’

Even though the losses are piling up, the Illini vowed to carry on.

“We’re a good team,’’ offensive tackle Corey Lewis said. “The problem is, we don’t see how good we are. The sooner we see how good we are, the better. When the plays are there, we need to make them.

“The good teams believe they’re a good team. As long as we lose, it’s easy to say, ‘Here we go again.’ We have to continue to believe that we can hang with these teams, that any game in the Big Ten is a winnable game.’’

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