UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The Illinois football team is looking to finish off the season with their most wins since 2011, and University Housing is making sure people get to the game.
The Fighting Illini take on Northwestern Saturday at 11 a.m. The Residence Halls will be opened at 9 a.m., an entire day early. UI Associate Athletic Director Cassie Arner says the support from housing makes a big difference to the team.
“The ability to bring the more than 8,000 students that live in dorms back early to support the team is very appreciated,” says Arner. “It’s something I think that’s a big part of campus-life is supporting your athletics teams. Especially in a season like this where there’s just a lot of excitement about being bowl-eligible.”
University Housing says they are not sure how many will be back early, but they are preparing for it as if all 8,000 will be. Some fans have already made their way to campus.
More than just students too. A couple of graduates brought their kids with them for this weekends game. They say it is much more fun when the team is playing well and the campus is behind them.
“It’s been disappointing that the football team hasn’t done well in the last few years,” says alum Mark Gemmel. “It’s exciting to see Lovie Smith taking it up a notch. It’s exciting to see students coming back early to see the game and I think it’s a good thing for Illinois all together.”
The team was already locked a bowl berth. A win Saturday would mean they would have a winning Big Ten record for just the third time in 20 years.