Illinois QB Jon Beutjer to miss rest of season due to back injury

Updated: October 21, 2003, 8:15 PM ET

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois quarterback Jon Beutjer will miss the rest of the season with a back injury.

Beutjer has a herniated disk and could have surgery within the next several weeks. Beutjer missed Saturday's game at Michigan because of the injury, which coach Ron Turner said was the result of punishing hits throughout the season.

"It's an athlete's worst nightmare," Beutjer said Tuesday.

Beutjer has lost some feeling in his right leg because of the injury, which he first noticed about two weeks ago.

"My leg started getting numb. I started getting pins and needles and it just started going out on me a little bit," he said. "I knew it was something more than just back pain."

He started the first seven games this season and went 162-of-257 for 1,597 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was intercepted nine times.

Beutjer led the Big Ten in passing last season, even though he started just seven games. He is a senior, but he has applied to the NCAA for an additional year of eligibility because of circumstances surrounding his transfer to Illinois from Iowa in 2001.

A decision on the request is expected after the season.

Redshirt freshman Chris Pazan started in Illinois' 56-14 loss to the Wolverines. He and senior Dustin Ward are competing for the starting job this week against Minnesota.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index