CHAMPAIGN – Illinois has never lost to an FCS (formerly Division I-AA) opponent on 17 previous occasions. But the Illini (2-1, 0-1 Big Ten) should watch out for any FCS opponent, especially after the college football results last weekend.
Northwestern lost to the former Southern Illinois team 0-2 31-24, trailing No. 10 Arkansas in the fourth quarter with a 38-27 win over Missouri State.
“It also proves that anyone can be beaten on any given day,” said the Illinois linebacker and captain. Tariq Barnes. “every day [you need to] Come out there and be the best you can and make the most of those days.”
Chattanooga is set to challenge Illini in a game Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The Mocs (3-0) are ranked in the top 10 in the FCS Coaches Poll (#9) and have outperformed their three opponents 110-34 so far this season. Both coaches and the media expected Chattanooga to win the Southern Conference in pre-season polls. The Mocs also intimidated Kentucky last season, going 16-14 early in the fourth quarter from a 28-23 loss.
So while Illinois is definitely bigger, stronger and faster on their entire roster, Chattanooga should have Illini’s respect and full attention despite starting the Big Ten play next week.
Illinois coach ‘they have really good players’ Britt Bilima He said. “They have an offensive line guy who can start anywhere. They have a defensive intervention that can start anywhere. It doesn’t matter. They’re both going to play in the NFL. They have a back-back that I think is really talented. They have a lot of good players around him. They Well trained.The coach has done a really good job of getting these guys to play very hard, very fast, very productive, attack, defense and special teams.They took advantage of the portal world as well, they moved Kentucky last year, a really good team, to the fourth quarter.
“They are a very talented football team and we have to prepare our tails because I know they come here with the idea of one thing, which is to make history for themselves.”
On paper, Illinois fast attack football – Led by the NCAA’s leading rusher Chase Brown – and her dominant defense which ranks No. 15 nationally in defense scoring – That must be too much for Mocs to handle.
But they don’t play games on paper, as last week’s matches in Evanston and Fayetteville proved. The Illini team, who heads to Wisconsin next week for Brett Bilima’s return to Madison, is worried about the Mocs having some bite.
Illinois Defensive Coordinator: ‘Our work will be defining for us’ Ryan Walters He said. “This is going to be a big game. Anytime you play conference we’ll get the best of them. If we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing, we’ll give them our game okay. It should be a fun and competitive game Thursday night.”
Added Illini Attack Coordinator Barry Looney Jr.: “I think they all understand that any Saturday would be a fair game across the country. I think this is becoming more common; Not just within departments but that’s how college football does. On any Saturday, you don’t know what’s going to happen, so you want to give your best every Saturday. We definitely want to do that on Thursday.”