CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WCIA) — Coming off their first loss of the season, Illinois (1-2) could not stop that from becoming a streak dropping their first road game of the season to Virginia (2-0) 42-14.
Bret Bielema walked off the field at Scott Stadium after experienced one of his worst losses as a head coach. The last time he experienced a loss like this while coaching in the Big Ten was in 2008, that was the last time an opponent scored more than 40 points against his team in a regular season loss.
“We have high expectations as coaches, obviously I hope the players have even higher ones,” says Bielema. “It was completely unacceptable, especially some of the reactions late in the game that we can’t have.”
The Ilini were out muscled by Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who accounted for 405 of Virginia’s 550 offensive yards. The Illinois defense also gave up three unanswered touchdowns in the second half.
“The coaches, they can call the plays but it’s up to us to do the right thing on the field,” says senior Jamal Woods. “We prepared as hard as we could, and just to see the results today it’s heartbreaking.”
There were several chances for Illinois to turn it their way but when it came down to it, Art Sitkowski only completed 24 of his 45 passes. Eight penalties also got the best of Illinois.
“It goes back to me getting these guys ready to play,” says Sitkowski. “It’s my operation, I’m the quarterback. I got to do a better job getting these guys ready to play, and I need to do a better job playing early on in the game. Because I started out slow I missed a couple reads that I should have had.”
“Coach said more games are lost than won,” says Woods. “Penalties, mental errors, and turnovers are the big things that got us today.”
Illinois now prepares to get to back into Big Ten play, as they host Maryland after a short week Friday at 8 p.m.