QB Battle Returns for Illini Football


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Since August 27th, AJ Bush Jr. has been the Illinois starting quarterback, minus the short time he was injured. Bush Jr. was benched in the first half of the loss at Wisconsin for MJ Rivers. Now the quarterback competition is back on.

Bush Jr. went 2-8 through the air on Saturday with two interceptions. Rivers went 7-13 with one interception once he took over. The coaching staff said on Monday that they trust both with the reigns, and it’s very possibly that both will see action this weekend.

“They both bring different things to the table. To answer your question, yes, we could see ourselves playing both,” head coach Lovie Smith said. “In an ideal world you want to be able to go with one but we’ll do what we need to do.”

“MJ’s did enough to probably warrant and opportunity to see if he can come in and compete for the job. I think we definitely got to give him a look to see what he could do this week,” offensive coordinator Rod Smith said. “I’m not going to name a starter by no means, and all that type of stuff until the time comes. We’ll see.”

Illinois and Maryland will meet for the first time ever this Saturday. It’s a 2:30 CT kickoff from College Park.

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