CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois football hosts Chattanooga in the first Thursday night lights game in Memorial Stadium history. The Illini (2-1) are plenty rested coming off a bye week, playing for the first time in 12 days. The Mocs (3-0) are making their second trip to Central Illinois in the past two weeks after beating Eastern Illinois in Charleston on Sept. 10.

“We’ll have our work cut out for us, this is going to be a big game,” Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters said. “Anytime that you’re playing up a conference, we’re going to get those guys’ best shot.”

“Coach talked about making this a Big Ten game,” Illinois senior safety Quan Martin said. “Treat every opponent like every other opponent. Just prepare the right way, and coach always said, ‘Respect all fear none.'”

The Illinois defense has been stout through three games, ranked 15th in the country allowing just 10.7 points per game. The offense is paced by the nation’s leading running back in Chase Brown, who has racked up 496 yards.

“We’re going into game four of new offense, new offensive coordinator, a new way of doing things, new way of saying things,” Illinois head coach Bret Bielema said. “It’s a completely different tempo than our guys are used to so I think it’s kind of a little big of a microcosm. What you’ve seen and done; some things really, really well and some things that have not gone as well as we wanted. The basic elements of hanging onto the football, playing clean football, penalty free, those are things that got to be a staple of what we’re doing.”

With a win, Illinois would finish its non-conference portion of its schedule without a loss for the first time since 2011. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network.