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‘3-6 isn't where I want to be’: Illini look to rebound against Gophers

Illinois has three games left on the schedule, and need three wins for bowl eligibility.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — After their biggest win of the season — a stunning 20-18 win over then No. 7 Penn State — the Illini faltered at home, falling to Rutgers on Dad’s day. Head coach Bret Bielema met the media on Monday to discuss the 20-14 loss to the Scarlet Knights and preview this week’s road contest at Minnesota.

Here’s what Bielema had to say about...

The Rutgers Loss

“3-6 isn’t anywhere we want to be, but there are things that happen around us that are positive things. November is a huge month.”

“A positive out of Saturday’s game was the play of [Brandon Peters] by far the best productive game that I’ve been with him.”


“Minnesota has played really, really well. Offensively, they monopolize the clock, run the ball very well.”

“[Minnesota is] one of the only teams that is in the top-15 of offensive and defensive run games.”

“PJ [Fleck] and I are probably completely different people. But when I watch his teams, I appreciate how his teams play and compete. I have a lot of respect for what goes on there.”

The program moving forward

“Tony [Petersen] and offensive staff have been trying to focus on what we do well and minimize what we don’t do well. As a play caller, it starts with QB but in our scheme and our system, you have to have confidence in our running game.”

“I can’t tell you my excitement with some of our younger players in the building.”

“I know transfer portal things are going to start happening in our program because they are happening in other programs. I’m not oblivious to that.”


“Jakari Norwood has grown as much as anyone in that running back room.”

“MIles Scott has been really impressive over the last part of the season.”


“I don’t know if in my 13 years as a head coach I’ve had this much fluctuation in starters (due to injuries).”

“For the first time this season, no additional injuries from Saturday’s game.”

“Trying to work [Brian Hightower] in more.”