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Depth, health dogging Illini ahead of La. Tech

Illinois quarterback Reilly O'Toole (4) scrambles during the first half of their NCAA college football game against Charleston Southern, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Champaign, Ill.
Illinois quarterback Reilly O'Toole (4) scrambles during the first half of their NCAA college football game against Charleston Southern, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Champaign, Ill.
Seth Perlman, Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Since he arrived at Illinois last year, coach Tim Beckman has said his team's biggest shortcoming is a lack of depth.

Three games into this season, the situation has only gotten worse.

Illinois (2-1) was missing several starters and key contributors on each side of the ball Saturday in a 44-0 win over Charleston Southern. They included quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, center Graham Pocic and running back Jason Ferguson, all starters.

It's the defensive absences that could lead to trouble against the Bulldogs. Safeties Steve Hull and Suppo Sanni and linebacker Houston Bates were all out against Charleston Southern.

Louisiana Tech (2-0) is scoring 56 points a game, third best in the country. The Bulldogs average 83 offensive snaps a game.

Follow David Mercer on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DavidMercerAP