CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — There are games you will never forget and there are games you’d like to forget. Rod Smith is still hung up on one of those forgettable games last season, when Iowa blitzed Illinois 63-0 at Memorial Stadium. The Illini offensive coordinator says he doesn’t have to bring it up with his players, they’re well aware of what happened last season.
“I don’t know if you have to, it speaks for itself, right? It’s a nightmare you want to forget but it’s like a bad train wreck, you can’t, it just keeps going over and over again in your mind,” Rod Smith said.
The loss was the low point in head coach Lovie Smith’s tenure. It tied the most points allowed in a game (63) in his tenure and was only the second time his team was shutout. The only other time was back in 2016, ironically enough, also against Iowa in a 28-0 loss. Lovie says he will use last year’s embarrassment with his defensive guys as they prepare to play the 19th-ranked Hawkeyes, who are coming off an emotional win over previously unbeaten Minnesota.
“63-0 thrashing out there, are we going to bring that up? Yeah a few times, I think the guys have heard that a few times but I don’t really think you need to,” Lovie Smith said.
Illinois and Iowa kickoff Saturday morning at 11 a.m. at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. The Illini are 15-point underdogs against the Hawkeyes.