Illini contend, but fall short without Bielema

Sports

IOWA CITY, Iowa (WCIA) — We’re into the last week of the Illinois football regular season after a 33-23 loss at Iowa Saturday.

The Illini had a 10 point first quarter lead before the Hawkeyes put up 17 unanswered points to take a lead they never gave back. The defense played well enough to win, only giving up one offensive touchdown holding the Hawks to four fields goals. But the offense struggled, especially on the ground, only rushing for 64 yards.

Without head coach Bret Bielema, who was not in Iowa City with the team after a positive COVID-19 test, the Illini found a way to compete with wide receivers coach George McDonald leading the charge throughout the week.

“It was kind of hectic in a way, especially when you find out your head coach isn’t going to be there, it’s just different,” says running back Chase Brown. “He’s the guy that kind of solidifies everything and holds it all together but what I was most happy about is the way that we were able to adapt and our leadership in the locker room took over and the way that Coach McDonald took over Coach B’s role there. It wasn’t the easiest situation.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.