staff, September 2, 2015

Like most of you, I?ve spent the summer months anxiously counting down the days to the college football season. And now, here we are just a few days away from what is surely to be an exciting ninth year of coverage here on BTN.

It all starts on Friday with Illinois hosting Kent State, followed by Illinois State at Iowa on Saturday.

With a new season of college football comes the opportunity of taking a deeper look into those unique and sometimes quirky statistical facts, which most fans may not be aware of.

Here are five facts you should know going into this week?s pair of games on BTN.

1. Kent State has really struggled historically against teams from the Big Ten. The Golden Flashes have lost all eleven of their previous meetings against Big Ten opponents who were members of the conference at the time of their matchup. In those contests, they were outscored 483-61. In fact, Kent State has been shutout in each of its last three consecutive contests against Big Ten opponents and have totaled only three points in their last five overall against the conference. That means they have gone scoreless over their last 182:36 of game play against teams from the Big Ten. Will they end that drought on Friday?

[ MORE: Watch Kent State at Illinois at 9 p.m. ET Friday on BTN2Go ]

2. Illinois has seen a lot of success recently in home openers. The Fighting Illini have won their home opener in each of the last 17 seasons. That?s currently the sixth-longest active winning streak among all FBS teams in the nation. In fact, Illinois has not lost the first home game of the season since dropping a 24-7 decision to Southern Mississippi on Sep. 6, 1997.

3. The Fighting Illini defense is anchored by senior linebacker Mason Monheim, who led the team with a career-high 111 tackles in 2014. He currently joins Temple?s Tyler Matakevich as the only two active FBS players who have now posted at least 85 tackles in each of the last three seasons. Monheim was also credited with four forced fumbles last season; tied with Northwestern?s Ibraheim Campbell and Ohio State?s Joey Bosa for the most of any player in the Big Ten.

4. Illinois State is coming off a remarkable season in which they won a school-record 13 games and finished as the FCS runner-up. Much of their success was attributed to the play of quarterback Tre Roberson, a transfer who previously played at Indiana. As a Hoosier, he made his first collegiate start against Iowa on Oct. 22, 2011; completing 16-of-24 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 84 yards. Roberson was one of four Division I (FBS & FCS) players who recorded at least 30 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns in 2014, joining Oregon?s Marcus Mariota, Ohio State?s J.T. Barrett, and Villanova?s John Robertson. A pretty impressive list?

[ MORE: Watch Illinois State at Iowa at noon ET Saturday on BTN2Go ]

5. A new era begins for Iowa with junior C.J. Beathard as the Hawkeyes? starting QB. Although he has seen somewhat limited time on the field in his first two seasons, he has shown some flashes of greatness, especially in the final quarter of play last season. Beathard's 201.00 fourth quarter passer rating was the highest among all players in the FBS last season (minimum 21 pass attempts in 4th quarter). Thanks in part to the play of Beathard, Iowa scored 34.6 percent of their points last season in the fourth quarter (127/367).

Check us out on Twitter at @BTNStatsGuys as we will be providing more facts and stats on game day.