Illini feeling nerves, excitement heading into week one

Sports

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Brandon Peters didn’t shy away from expressing any nerves heading into week one against Wisconsin.

“You aren’t human if you don’t have any nerves going into this game, but it’s been a long time since we’ve put on the pads, and had an opportunity to compete like this,” says Peters.

The two-year starting quarterback will lead the Illini offense this week in their season-opener at Wisconsin. Now as the Illini shift from training camp to game-mode, the starting lineup is also starting to take shape. Head coach Lovie Smith confirmed on Monday that sophomore offensive lineman Verdis Brown will start at right guard, replacing grad transfer Richie Pettibon.

The Illini back-seven is also expected is continue their impact this season. Senior linebacker Jake Hansen was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award in 2019, before his season was ended by an injury requiring him to miss the last four games.

“I haven’t played in–it’s getting close to right around a year, and it’s fun to finally have a game,” says Hansen. ” don’t want to mess anything up or jinx it, but looks like we’re pretty much guaranteed going to play.”

Oct. 23 is the latest start date in Illinois football history. The Illini will kick-off against Wisconsin in Madison, on Friday at 7pm CT.

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