Illinois hasn’t had a lot to smile about, football-wise, this season. Or most seasons, really.
This is the Illini’s fifth season with Lovie Smith as their coach, and they’ve been to one bowl game, which they lost last year to finish 6-7. Illinois hasn’t won a bowl since 2011 under Ron Zook, and hasn’t had a winning record in the Big Ten since 2007.
On Saturday, though, Illinois went to Nebraska and blew the Cornhuskers’ doors off, 41-23, behind the combined efforts of Mike Epstein and Chase Brown, who ran for a combined 223 yards and three touchdowns.
Illinois also had a delightful fake punt early in the second half, which maintained possession at a point when Nebraska, getting the ball back down 28-10, might have had a chance to turn the game around.
So, being very sportsmanlike, Illinois said “good game” to Nebraska and thanked the university for its key role in making Big Ten football happen this year.
Isn’t that nice?
The start of East Carolina-Temple was delayed because, according to Brett McMurphy of Stadium, an Owls player’s girlfriend tested positive for coronavirus, and the player had to go get a rapid test himself. That player tested positive, so he didn’t play, and neither did some of his close contacts on the team.
Since East Carolina was there anyway, they went ahead and played, because what’s a little COVID risk among friends, right? The Pirates won, 28-3, so they can take that with them into quarantine?
The Clemson-Florida State game being scrubbed meant that Florida-Vanderbilt moved onto ABC, a rare national television appearance for the winless Commodores. They led the No. 6 team after a quarter, and covered the spread.
The actual score? Eh, you don’t really need to know that, do you?