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Bielema, coordinators talk historic win

The Illini host Rutgers for Dad’s weekend this Saturday.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — After their worst loss of the season, the Illini rebounded on the road by stunning No. 7 Penn State in nine (!!!) overtimes. Offensive Coordinator Tony Petersen, Defensive Coordinator Ryan Walters and head coach Bret Bielema met the media on Monday to discuss the 20-18 win over Penn State and preview this week’s home contest against Rutgers.

Here’s what Petersen had to say about:

The Offense

“We wanted to be the most physical unit on the team.”

“Our guys battled every play.”

“It’s more about the execution than anything.”

“It doesn’t bother me at all to keep calling run plays for four to five yards.”

“I feel like we left 10-14 points out there.”

“We’ll do anything we can to score some points.”


“It’s a different format right there, I kind of enjoyed it.”

“You go in with two, three two-point plays and all of sudden you get seven of them and you are scrambling for plays to call.”

Chase Brown

“He’s just a solid all-around back.”


“They play hard.”

“They’ve got a really good defense.”

Here’s what Walters had to say about:

The Defense

“We’ve just learned how to handle and deal with adversity.”

“Tarique [Barnes] and Khalan [Tolson] both have stepped up in their starting roles, and have performed lights out.”

“[Khalan Tolson]’s super athletic. I always tease him and say he looks like an action figure the way he is built.”

“We are at our best when we’re aggressive.”

“Keith Randolph made a bunch of huge plays.”

“Johnny Newton made a bunch of huge plays.”

“The emphasis for us was to get off the field in whatever way possible.”


“[The offensive coordinator] is super creative.”

“They got guys.”

Here’s what Bielema had to say about:

The win over Penn State

“I thought that game was earned.”

“The Law Firm of [Johnny] Newton and [Kieth] Randolph played outstanding.”

“Practice habits become game day reality.”

“I was glad that [Brandon Peters] came in and threw that game-winning strike.”

“I did like the (overtime) format.”

The Rutgers game

“I’d love to have as many people in Memorial as we can possibly get. I know our guys feed off that energy, especially our student section.”

“I promise our team is getting better every week and you’re going to enjoy watching us play.”


“Art [Sitkowski] unfortunately did break his arm...He’ll be done for the year.”

“When that surgery gets done in his left hand, about two to four weeks later he’ll get surgery done on his right shoulder.”

“[Vederian Lowe is] progressing in right direction.”

“Chase Brown has passed all the tests he needs to pass.”

“Sydney [Brown] is setting a record for games played with a club.”