CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — This week gets personal for Illinois defensive back Michael Marchese. The walk-on senior will face his twin brother Henry, when Iowa visits Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.
“It’s been tough on my end, I’m 0-3 against him so I’m trying to get in the win column,” Marchese said. “There’s always been a competitiveness between us going back to when we were really young.”
Playing college football isn’t anything new for the Marchese family, their father John was a running back for the Hawkeyes, leaving the family allegiance divided this weekend.
“They really don’t like this game,” Michael said about his parents. “As much fun as it is to see both me and Henry on the field at the same time it’s hard on my parents.”
This isn’t the first time the Vernon Hills native is playing on the same field as his sibling. Mike’s older brother Jimmy was a walk-on linebacker at Illinois, playing a big role in getting his younger brother to Champaign.
“Jim deserves a lot of credit for who I am as a person and a player, so without him I don’t know where I would be,” Michael said.
Returning from an injury that kept him sidelined for the first four games this season, Michael made his season debut at Nebraska. He’s played primarily on special teams throughout his career but does have two interceptions. He played in 12 out of the team’s 13 games last season, with five tackles.
“The combination of both the physical, getting my body right, and knowing the playbook in every detail it’s really helped me grow as a player and contribute wherever I can,” Marchese said.
And this Saturday he’s hoping to put it all together on the field to help him earn family bragging rights.