The odds are not in favor of the Fighting Illini.
Coming into the weekend as 14.5 point underdogs, Illinois is going to need to pull off a miracle to take a win from the Nittany Lions.
However, this is familiar territory for the orange and blue. Just two years ago they came into State College to face No. 7 Penn State and accomplished the unthinkable.
So as far as an upset goes, stranger things have happened.
But if the Illini want any chance at all this Saturday, they need to have a short memory after last week’s disappointing showing against Kansas.
“Anytime you have a game like we did last Friday, to get back out there is what everybody wants,” said head coach Bret Bielema.
Coach is also anticipating as big a crowd as he’s seen during his time in Champaign this weekend. He wants his guys to relish in the atmosphere and seize the opportunity to shock the world.
“It’s about what we do and how we handle our moment,” he said.
The team is well aware of the early season naysayers and they appear to be paying them no mind whatsoever. The Illini are sticking by their script and they aren’t going off track because of a single bad performance.
“I think people that look at one game windows and try to treat it as a moment in time that lasts forever really miss the boat,” Bielema said.
Coach knows that it’s not only about identifying the mistakes made, but addressing them and figuring out the solutions. There’s a lot to improve on so far this season and the players and staff are embracing that head on.
“I think it’s important to teach your players not just that you had failure, but why did you have failure and then try to give them the answers to be better,” he said.
If there is one, who will it be? pic.twitter.com/5gdzoknEtb— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 13, 2023
Illinois is no stranger to playing spoiler against this potential Big Ten title bound team. Hopefully they have a case of déjà vu and figure out a way to get it done once again, this time on their home turf.