Tim Beckman will be back for a third season as Illinois coach, athletic director Mike Thomas said Monday. Thomas squelched speculation in an interview with WCIA in Champaign, Ill., that Beckman might be on the way out after a second consecutive losing season. Illinois finished with a 4-8 overall record and a 1-7 mark in Big Ten play. Two weeks ago, the Fighting Illini ended a 20-game conference losing streak with a 20-16 victory over Purdue, which finished 1-11 overall and 0-8 in the Big Ten. Beckman's first Illinois team in 2012 went 2-10 overall and 0-8 in the conference after he was hired from Toledo to replaced the fired Ron Zook. The Illini's improvement this season came on the offensive side of the ball. Beckman brought in Bill Cubit as offensive coordinator and the team's points-per-game average rose from 16.7 a year ago to 29.7 this season. Defense remained a problem, though. The Illini ranked 112th nationally in total defense, giving up 481.5 yards per game, and 105th in scoring defense, allowing 35.4 points per game.
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