“They just fight for each other,” Bielema on resilient 9OT win


STATE COLLEGE, PA. (WCIA) — Illinois football is staying in the national spotlight after beating No. 7 Penn State in a 9OT game. It’s a game that Illini Nation is still trying to wrap their heads around, after Illinois takes home the W in the longest FBS game in college football history.

The Illini running backs played a big role for the Illini will a season-high 357 yards on the ground, but the defense is what saved the day for the Illini. They had six players record five or more tackles, while holding Penn State to season-low 10 points in regulation. Their biggest stop was during the ninth overtime period, breaking up a Penn State 2-point attempt, which led to a Brandon Peters pass to Casey Washington for the win.

“Every play is another opportunity, and then when there was a stop you knew what you had to do, if there was a touchdown you knew what you had to do,” says head coach Bret Bielema. “I love the attitude, and the enthusiasm and the energy — they just fight for each other, and if there’s one thing that has really come out is just how much they fight for one another.”

Bret Bielema says there’s still a long way to go with this team, but beating a Top-10 opponent on the road for the first time since 2007 is certainly a step in the right direction.

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