Illini moving on to short week before Maryland


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois is back from Virginia and in the film room Sunday trying to find out what went wrong against the Cavaliers on Saturday.

It was not pretty, as the Illini fell early and were never able to get back up. The defense was backed into a corner almost immediately as Virginia had two scores in five minutes. Eight penalties, including a few unsportsmanlike conducts, helped bury them late. Head coach Bret Bielema says he is trying to take the game in stride.

“This week and last week are learning experiences,” says Bielema. “They’re very, very difficult to go through, but unfortunately where we are right now that’s part of the process. I take a lot of responsibility, just unacceptable coaching and the reactions our guys had to adversity there is not what we were looking for. We’ll get that address as soon as tomorrow.”

And the Illini now have to get prepared in a short week. They host Maryland on Friday night instead of Saturday, and they have a day less practice to get ready. The players say they are trying to shake the sting of these back to back losses quickly.

“As hard as it is to get this out of our heads, it’s something we’re going to have to do going forward for Maryland next week,” says linebacker Jake Hansen.

“It’s hard. It’s not easy,” says quarterback Art Sitkowski. “You put so much into this stuff. But we gotta fight back, we gotta crawl our way out of this. And we will. Our backs are against the wall and we’re going to fight, we’re going to fight, we’re going to fight. And the leaders on this team are going to lead us and we’re going to follow them.”

The game against Maryland is 8 p.m. Friday.

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