CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — A career day has Tommy DeVito feeling good heading into Saturday’s game at Wisconsin in the return of Big Ten play. The Illinois quarterback threw for a collegiate high 332 yards in a 31-0 win over Chattanooga last Thursday. His three touchdowns were also the most in a game for the Syracuse transfer since the 2019 when he was the full-time starter for the Orange.
Now DeVito and the Illini are preparing for their biggest challenge yet in a Wisconsin team that ranks 34th in the country in scoring defense. It will also be the most hostile environment yet, with Camp Randall Stadium holding more than 80,000 fans.
“I’m so excited for many reasons,” DeVito said. “I’ve never been there, I’ve only heard about it and that’s it’s an awesome venue, and the whole, ‘Jump Around’ deal. Defensively they’re very strong and I’m looking forward to it, I want to go up against a challenge.”
“He’s really gotten better and better each week, gotten more and more comfortable and is playing his best football,” Illinois offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. said. “Now he’s going to need to play his best on Saturday. He doesn’t have to play perfect but he’s going to need to play really well for us going on the road this week.”
DeVito has elevated the quarterback position for the Illini, throwing for 954 yards in four games. That’s more than half the amount of total passing yards Illinois had all of last season at 1,874. DeVito’s nine touchdowns so far this fall are also just four off the total of last season for the Orange and Blue. Learning new offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Junior’s system has been a work in progress but DeVito is happy with the progress so far.
“It’s really just being able to find those parts where we need to grind through and just keep the chains moving, I think that’s been our biggest thing,” DeVito said. “I think we’ve gotten better in the red zone as well, because Week 2 in the red zone, we put a lot of time and effort into that. I think that’s gotten better and we’re just getting everything turning.”
Illinois and Wisconsin kickoff Saturday morning at 11 a.m. in a game televised on Big Ten Network.