Illinois Eyes Bounce and Get Revenge on New Virginia
Illinois coach Bret Bielema called the matchup with Virginia for the second straight season “the history of two cities” because of the Cavaliers’ coaching changes during the offseason.
After having their worst moments in last year’s 42-14 loss to Charlottesville, Va., the Illini (1-1) will be hoping for better results Saturday afternoon when Virginia (1-0) visits Champaign, Ill. .
“It’s a bit unique, isn’t it? Bielema spoke about the rematch with a Virginia team featuring new head coach Tony Elliott and new coordinators for offensive, defensive and special teams. “…They’re kind of completely different than they were a year ago.”
A year ago, Brennan Armstrong shredded the Illini with 405 passing yards and five touchdowns and Virginia threw in 556 yards on offense.
The Cavaliers opened the Elliott era last Saturday with a 34-17 win over FCS member Richmond. Armstrong passed for 246 yards, rushed for 105 and accounted for three touchdowns. Former walk-on Perris Jones ran for 104 yards and scored while rushing and receiving touchdowns.
It was the first win as head coach for Elliott, the former Clemson offensive coordinator and associate head coach.
“Very, very grateful and grateful to have the opportunity to be the head coach at the University of Virginia and I just want to thank everyone who believed in me and gave me the opportunity to be here. “, Elliott said.
After a Week 0 win over Wyoming, Illinois lost 23-20 to Indiana last Friday. The Hoosiers scored the game-winning TD with 23 seconds left to cap a 75-yard drive. Four turnovers and a second straight game with eight penalties hurt the Illini.
“From day one I talked about ‘before we start winning games, we have to stop losing them’,” Bielema said.
Bielema announced Monday that Illinois first-year wide receiver Shawn Miller will undergo season-ending surgery for an unspecified injury.
After serving a first-half suspension for a targeting penalty that carried over from last season, Virginia linebacker Josh Ahern had five tackles and a second-half sack against Richmond. He also had an interception which was wiped out by a penalty.