CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — For the final two games of the season, Illinois was without their top three wide receivers entering the year. Four of their top six didn’t play in the Redbox Bowl.
Josh Imatorbhebhe missed his second straight game. Ricky Smalling left the Wisconsin game and missed the rest of the season. Trevon Sidney was hurt at Minnesota and didn’t come back. Caleb Reams missed the bowl game due to a disciplinary issue.
Brandon Peters still threw for 273 yards on Monday, with Donny Navarro leading the way with six catches for 77 yards. Danile Baker played more on the outside than normal, and Isaiah Williams even caught three passes.
“It was tough, obviously we had a couple guys out but I thought guys stepped up today. Carlos Sandy, Trenard Davis stepped up today as well. So obviously it’s tough when you’ve got Josh out and things like that but I think guys stepped up today and they were able to make plays late in the game,” Navarro said. “It’s the motto of ‘next man up’, you know what I’m saying? These guys worked hard in practice, they showed they can succeed in practice this week.”
Illinois loses two wide receivers to graduation, with one signed and one verbally committed to their class of 2020.