Trailing 35-21 with five minutes to play in the second quarter, Illinois quarterback Riley O'Toole fumbled into his own end zone, resulting in an Ohio State safety en route to a 60-35 Buckeyes win. Immediately following the play, ESPN cameras found this:
That's Illini head coach Tim Beckman being separated from offensive coordinator Bill Cubit. We didn't see the game, so the facts of the situation are the only details we can add, and obviously only Beckman and Cubit can comment as to both the words exchanged and the context behind them. But what's worth noting is that Cubit's offense is about the only thing that's gone right for Beckman in his second season in Champaign.
Illinois is 3-7 this season and 0-14 in Big Ten play under Beckman, but the Illini offense has jumped more than 60 spots nationally in yardage and scoring in year one under Cubit. We reported earlier this month that the plan in Champaign was to keep Beckman for a third season, under the condition that Cubit returns as offensive coordinator. We've also reported that Cubit should get heavy interest from Eastern Michigan for its vacant head coaching position.
Harsh exchanges in the middle of a heated contest rarely prove to be indicative of a deeper rift among staff members. If that's not the case here, though, it could spell trouble for Beckman's long-term future at Illinois.