CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Alex Palczewski and Tarique Barnes are out for the season, Illinois football head coach Lovie Smith announced on Monday.
Senior Alex Palczweski will have season-ending surgery, after he went down earlier this month against Rutgers. The offensive lineman has played a huge role for the Illini as a four-year starter, making his 40th consecutive start this season at right tackle.
“It breaks your heart for the young man, because not only is he a really good football player, but just as good of a person,” says offensive coordinator Rod Smith. “Our football program is extremely, extremely, extremely important to Alex Palczewski. It means the world to him. So whenever he can’t partake, or whenever he can’t help his brothers, it hurts him.”
Meanwhile Barnes already had season-ending surgery, after an injury he sustained against Nebraska. The linebacker earned his first career interception that game, making seven tackles as well. The sophomore had a breakout performance against Wisconsin, stepping in for an injured Jake Hansen, and scoring the first touchdown in his career off a fumble recovery.