The backfield situation is not looking so hot for the Illinois Fighting Illini as they get ready to take on UCLA in the 2011 Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 31. Illini head coach Vic Koenning revealed on Tuesday that his team will likely be without both of their starting running backs. Starting fullback Jay Prosch is currently hospitalized with a staph infection and starting tailback Jason Ford has been ruled academically ineligible.
Prosch has apparently been hospitalized since Dec. 14 and had surgery in an attempt to fight off the infection. He is apparently in good health, but there's no indication when he might be able to leave the hospital or how he might have contracted the infection. No other players have been infected.
The news is not much better for Ford. The team's leading rusher with 600 yards on 155 carries has not yet received word on whether or not he'll be able to play. That leaves Illinois with backups Troy Pollard (462 yards) and Donovonn Young (406 yards) as the most likely candidates to see extended action.