CHAMPAIGN (WCIA)– The Illini get another win at home, defeating Virginia. Illinois was coming off a Big Ten loss on the road to Indiana.

Virginia got on the board early with a field goal, but it was a big day for two Illini. True freshman Michael Bailey and tight end Michael Marchese both scored their first touchdown in their career. Bailey’s came after Illini’s Sydney Brown forced a fumble during a punt return and Bailey scooped it up and ran it into the endzone. Marchese’s touchdown came from a 39-yard pass from quarterback Tommy Devito.

Devito found his tight ends this game, with another touchdown catch to Tip Reiman. Devito passed for 196 yards. Virginia’s Brennan Armstrong passed for 180 yards. Offensively, Illinois was dominating the rushing game, with 198 yards, 146 of those from running back Chase Brown. The running back reached 2,000 yards on his career today.

Defensively, Illinois kept Virginia to only 3 points. Defensive back Devon Witherspoon leading the charge with 7 tackles. Freshman Gabe Jacas got two sacks, the first of his career. Tarique Barnes, Johnny Newton and Keith Randolph Jr. also joined in getting a sack each.

Illinois ends up winning 24-3.

What a difference a year can make. Brennan Armstrong torched the Illini in Charlottesville last season throwing for more than 400 yards and five touchdowns, but the Illinois defense made him look mediocre Saturday completing just 13 of his 32 passes for 180 yards and two interceptions.

“This was a big statement to me to where we were a year ago to where we are now and I kind of wanted to see where we’re at as a program,” Illinois head coach Bret Bielema said.

“We had that game in the back of our mind. Coach B had Virginia playing in the screen in the locker room to keep our memories fresh,” Illinois defensive lineman Keith Randolph Jr. said.

Comparing this game to last year is progress for the Illini but a week can make all the difference too. After a disappointing loss at Indiana, Illinois found a way to bounce back holding the Cavaliers without a touchdown, the second time this season the Illini have held an opponent out of the end zone.

“We got it handed to us last year and this year we definitely took it personally and it goes to show the work we’ve put in since last January,” Illinois defensive back Kendall Smith said.

Virginia only had 222 yards, Chase Brown had 146 on the ground, once again proving he’s one of the best running backs in not only the Big Ten but the country. Three games in, he has 496 yards.

“Obviously Chase Brown is an unreal running back and I would put my life on the line for him to get an extra yard,” Illinois offensive lineman Alex Palczewski said.

“He’s an animal,” Illinois quarterback Tommy DeVito said. Sometimes I hand the ball off, I’m supposed to keep my little boot going out but sometimes I give a little peek to watch him because he’s a special dude.”

This was the first power five non-conference win for the Illini since 2011. And it wasn’t even close. The Illini will now have 12 days to enjoy it and get ready for Chattanooga under the Thursday night lights on the 22nd.