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Illinois Favored for Change in Missouri Opener
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- For once, Illinois is bringing all the star power to the neutral-site opener against Missouri this year. For the first time in a long while, it's the Tigers who are untested and unappreciated.

Illini quarterback Juice Williams passed for more than 450 yards and five touchdowns in a losing cause against Missouri last year. He's unquestionably the marquee name heading into Saturday's game -- one of eight returning starters on offense that makes the Illini close to a touchdown favorite to end a four-game losing streak in the series.

The Illini shouldn't be too confident, though. They were only 5-7 last year.

Missouri is starting over, in a sense, coming off a 10-4 record and heading into coach Gary Pinkel's ninth season. Virtually all the headliners are gone from teams that combined for 22 victories, two bowl triumphs and a brief stay at No. 1.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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