CHAMPAIGN, Unwell. – Illinois dominated on either side of the ball to win its Week Zero opener for the second straight season, taking down Wyoming, 38-6, at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Illini opened the sport with a bang on their first drive of the season. Junior Chase Brown took his first carry of the season 38 yards up the appropriate sideline earlier than senior Tommy DeVito related with Brown for 14-yard landing move one play afterward his first move try as an Illini.
After the Cowboys obtained on the board through a area objective, the Illini capitalized on two massive Chase Brown carries to seek out the tip zone as soon as once more. Brown eclipsed 100 yards on the day on the drive, which pushed him over 2,000 profession dashing yards. Again-to-back brief completions ultimately led to an 11-yard landing rush from Brown, his second rating of the day.
Junior Devon Witherspoon recorded his third profession interception on the subsequent drive and returned the choose 40 yards to in the end arrange a 27-yard area objective from junior Caleb Griffin, the second of his profession.
Illinois headed into halftime with a 17-3 lead and over 250 yards of whole offense, headlined by Brown’s 139 yards on the bottom and two touchdowns.
The Illini prolonged their lead late within the third quarter on an 11-play, 78-yard drive capped off by a six-yard Pat Bryant landing, the primary rating of his school profession. The landing pushed the Illinois result in three scores, 24-6, with beneath three minutes to play within the third quarter.
The protection produced an enormous fourth-down cease on the subsequent drive, and the offense went proper again to work. Ranging from the Wyoming 44, Illinois shortly and effectively moved down the sector, needing simply 5 performs to seek out the tip zone. Two lengthy move completions arrange a 5-yard Brown carry, his third landing of the afternoon, to increase the Illini benefit to 31-6.
Sophomore Reggie Love III joined in on the enjoyable on the subsequent Illinois drive, ending a 7-play, 70-yard drive with a 33-yard landing run, his first collegiate dashing rating, to maneuver the Illini edge to 38-6 with beneath seven minutes to play.
Head coach Bret Bielema
“I assumed two issues in the present day. Our guys put in a whole lot of preparation. We talked about beginning quick and we could not have requested for a greater begin. A pair issues that we emphasised within the kicking recreation. It was Peyton Vining we moved to nook and he was a man that was having a fairly good spring and fall. Then had a little bit smooth tissue so we pulled him out of it and he obtained cleared about 10 days in the past. 2 weeks in the past I known as him one night time as a result of I used to be utilizing him on particular groups. He was a double digit quantity. He says hey coach ya know I am the one participant in your roster that is returned a kickoff for a landing. I mentioned I am conscious of this and we gave him his alternative and he capitalized. Actually enjoyable to see a man like that begin the season and his story to get to the place he’s. It is superior. Tommy and Chase completed off the remainder of that drive fairly good.
“I feel there’s a whole lot of issues we are able to clear up. I assumed offensively from communication, the way in which they adjusted on the sidelines. I assumed Tommy actually confirmed nice composure; he is a really correct passer. He had some glitches in the present day, however issues we are able to positively clear up. To get him out within the stare of the fourth quarter and let Artwork get in there let him have a little bit success. Simply actually pleased with our offense and what they did, we obtained a whole lot of issues to scrub up however I assumed that was good.
“Defensively we talked all week. We knew they have been going to have some explosive runs they seem to be a good soccer group, they’ve some good schemes. We talked about getting the ball down, if it breaks simply get the ball down and make one other play. They’d a pair massive runs that we obtained down and held them to kick a area objective. I feel between offense, protection and particular groups to come back out of it the way in which we did I am excited. I do not actually have any replace on Josh McCray. Isaiah may have gone again in. I did not need him again in he was simply cramping, so I feel we got here out of it fairly clear. We’ll wait and see the outcomes of Josh.”
Bret Bielema on Tommy DeVito
“I favored Tommy’s demeanor. I assumed he did some issues that do not go within the newspaper like eliminating the ball on some early downs so we did not find yourself in a unfavourable yards state of affairs. He distributed the ball to a whole lot of totally different gamers, I feel they mentioned 12 gamers caught a move in the present day, not locking in on one man. I feel Barry has carried out an incredible job working with Tommy and let Artwork are available and try this. That is value its weight in gold.”
Bret Bielema on Chase Brown
“I’ve had a whole lot of good working backs in my profession, I have been blessed. I informed him final spring the final hit you took within the Northwestern recreation is the final time you will get tackled that open so simply put together that approach. He is had a terrific spring, he had fall. We did not let anyone sort out him because the working backs have the shortest NFL profession, clearly he isn’t there but, however each play for a working again if you hand them the ball normally ends in successful. These guys have restricted reps. I used to be a little bit nervous to see how explosive he could be, however he is obtained a wonderful understanding of how he performs, he performs behind his pads very nicely.”
Bret Bielema on his protection
“I feel our backend is de facto taking part in at a excessive degree. Up entrance we obtained some good gamers however I feel Quan Martin is taking part in distinctive soccer, Sid as nicely. I used to be excited to see what Kendal did in his first intensive motion. We took Taz out at half, he had a smooth tissue and did not need to press him.”
Bret Bielema on Illinois’ switch portal additions
“Terrell Jennings has been an enormous addition for us within the portal, we simply obtained him actually when camp began. Using the switch portal for us actually confirmed up in the present day. Between the 2 guards beginning for us, Tommy DeVito, Terrell Jennings was an enormous acquisition. TeRah (Edwards) gave us some stuff, RJ gave us some stuff inside. Our personnel crew has carried out a very nice job for us.”
Bret Bielema on his receivers
“I assumed Pat Ryan, he is an enormous child, he runs nicely, he is superior, he is robust. Hightower has had an unbelievable camp. Casey Washington had a vital third down catch. You begin taking part in that depth of receivers you will keep recent. That is a tough prep. George McDonald is an distinctive coach that maximizes that vast receiver room. I do not know if I’ve a coach that has as a lot preparation and element within the instructing of the sport as he does his wideouts.
“In case you are vast receiver and need to play type of soccer you need to come play at Illinois.”
Chase Brown on the group’s efficiency
“I used to be happy with how issues went in the present day however I feel going into subsequent week, there’s lots we have to work on to hold on our drives and be a extra constant offense. I am pleased with the win in the present day however there’s nonetheless work to be carried out.”
Chase Brown on the way forward for the season
“Once we’re at our greatest we’ll be arduous to cease, however we obtained to maintain one another, whether or not doing all we are able to to guard Tommy (DeVito), we simply obtained to guard one another. So long as we maintain doing that and getting higher and studying from the movie, what we put in in the present day might be significantly better subsequent week.”
Chase Brown on the brand new offensive line
“That is one thing that may develop over time, I feel Tommy seemed nice in the present day. He seemed comfy, he threw correct balls and that is all we are able to ask for him. All we are able to do is ask him to play and that is what he did. I am trying ahead to working with him extra and constructing chemistry with him and the offensive line as nicely. We’re so early within the season proper now, I am excited to see what this group goes to be in per week or two.”
Chase Brown on his endurance
“Perhaps final yr I’d have tried to hurry it however in the present day I simply let it develop. I noticed how issues have been going to work and that is what you get from being an skilled participant. The offensive line did nice in the present day and I need to commend them for lots of that as a result of not one of the yards in the present day would have been attainable.”
Chase Brown on Chase Hayden and Reggie Love III
“I noticed two guys that stepped up, Chase and Reggie did not get as many reps as they wished to at first of the week however they got here out in the present day they usually actually put their names on the market. I feel Reggie obtained the good first landing ever. I am actually pleased with him, he is the very best teammate ever. Every time any person will get ultimately zone he is the primary individual there to congratulate them and now we might be congratulating him.”
Chase Brown on future offense
“That is simply us working several types of run schemes and stuff like that. Every run play is totally different, every individual has their very own factor they’re impatient for and they should work on. In the present day it was only a actually, actually quick begin and that is one thing we’ve to make the most of particularly going onto our second and third and fourth drives. We simply want to make use of this quick tempo offense to our benefit and play higher soccer subsequent week.”
Chase Brown on if he anticipated the offense to be fast-paced
“That was one of many objectives I knew going into the sport, if we simply knew the sport plan and trusted the calls Berry would put us in positions to make performs and that is what precisely occurred in the present day. I used to be like a one-two punch proper off the bat so it is simply one thing to construct off of and construct chemistry with the offensive line and quarterback.”
Chase Brown on his 2,000 profession dashing yards
“It isn’t one thing I am centered on proper now, I simply need to be the very best participant I might be on this group. Nonetheless I can lead the younger guys and pour in as a lot as I can earlier than the season is over. I am simply taking it one week at a time proper now.”
Tommy DeVito on the primary drive, which resulted in a landing
“You are not gonna rating until you strive, so we did it. Chase (Brown) had a terrific run, and we had a terrific play name.”
Tommy DeVito on offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr.‘s offensive preparation
“I am pleased with the win first, however tomorrow’s gonna be an enormous day for offense growing-wise. One among our issues coming into this recreation was to be clear and play clear. There may be nonetheless a whole lot of meat left on the bone that we’re gonna must maintain.”
Tommy DeVito on his private evaluation of his efficiency
“I did alright. I am lots tougher on myself than individuals would suppose. I will in all probability pull out my iPad and go look by means of each easy throw and each choice that I made on the sector clearly.”
Tommy DeVito on what he discovered concerning the Illini offense
“Yeah, I imply that is the primary time I used to be in a position to see the run recreation actually flourish. Chase (Brown) and Josh (McCray) aren’t getting touching. They are not getting hit. There’s a few eventualities the place they get a little bit dinged there, however to see them reside and see the run recreation flourish and actually evolve is superior to see. I’ve heard lots about them coming into this system however to have the ability to see Chase go, it is nice.”
Tommy DeVito on the offensive line
“The offensive line is superior, whether or not it is the run recreation, move recreation, simply going with the tempo. Observe is one factor however being on the sector, going an entire drive, an entire sequence now, it was superior. It was superior to see that and I am trying ahead to see the strikes that they make.”
Tommy DeVito on the nerves heading into his Illinois debut
“No, simply pure pleasure. I might say pure pleasure. Truthfully, it sounds loopy, however you realize I do not get touched all camp both, so the entire final week I had Donovan (Leary) swinging pads and he will get me some contact right here and there as a result of going from not getting hit for a very long time to getting hit for the primary time, I used to be trying ahead to that first hit for the primary recreation.“
Tarique Barnes on what the protection confirmed
“I feel we confirmed that we’re nonetheless constructing on the place we left off final yr. All people talks about how significantly better we obtained all through the season, and that is simply the beginning of it, so I feel that when we proceed to right our errors and proceed to get higher, we are able to actually simply present that we’re developing increasingly more.”
Tarique Barnes on what labored within the move protection
“I feel past that, simply sort of being extra accountable with each other and taking part in collectively to make it possible for all of us on the sector are taking a look at issues the identical approach, and are not less than reacting to issues or speaking.”
Tarique Barnes on the emotions of holding Wyoming with no landing
“It is a whole lot of pleasure in that. I feel as a defender, you need to make it possible for opponents cannot rating or that we’ve no weaknesses. Going on the market and it is like, ‘Oh yeah, they can not do something.’ It is good. It is a confidence booster positively.”
Jer’Zhan Newton on making ready for this week’s recreation
“We knew what was coming for third down and fourth down, we have been ready for that every one week so we have been actually comfy with what performs they have been working and we simply needed to execute.”
Jer’Zhan Newton on low season coaching
“We knew we did not need a season like that once more, that Northwestern win, it was dangerous and we had a dropping season. However throughout the low season we grinded arduous and we obtained transfers rolling in and the chance to teach them and all people desires to play nicely too.”
In the present day (Aug. 27) marks the earliest season opener in Illinois’ 133-year program historical past. The earlier earliest begin date was Aug. 28, set in final yr’s opener vs. Nebraska. That is the tenth time in program historical past that the season has began in August.
Head coach Bret Bielema is the seventh head coach in Illinois’ 133-year-program historical past to win their first two season openers. Bielema is 13-1 in season openers in his 14-year profession as a head coach.
» George Huff (1895 & 1896), Edgar G.Holt (1902 & 1902), Robert Zuppke (1913 & 1914), Ron Zook (2005 & 2006), Tim Beckman (2012 & 2013), Lovie Smith (2016 & 2017).
Illinois was victorious within the first ever assembly between these two applications.
The 475 whole yards of offense by the Illini was probably the most in a recreation since posting 459 yards vs. Northwestern on Nov. 27, 2021.
Illinois has scored 30 factors or extra in back-to-back season openers for the primary time 2015 & 2016 (52 factors in every recreation).
The Illini didn’t permit a landing in in the present day’s recreation for the primary time since Aug. 31, 2019, vs. Akron, which was additionally a season opener.
Illinois has held opponents to twenty factors or much less in 5 of their final six video games, relationship again to Oct. 23, 2021.
Illinois allowed simply 30 passing yards in in the present day’s recreation, the primary time since Oct. 21, 2017, at Minnesota, that they’ve held an opponent beneath 50 passing yards.
Ten totally different Illini caught a move in in the present day’s recreation.
Illinois dedicated no turnovers and in addition didn’t permit a sack in a recreation for the primary time since Oct. 30, 2021, vs. Rutgers
The Illini protection held the Cowboys to 1-for-12 on third down. Wyoming began the sport by going 0-for-11 on third down.
Particular person Notes
Illinois captains: LB Tarique Barnes, DB Sydney Brown, OL Alex Palczewski, WR Isaiah Williams
4 Illini began for the primary time at Illinois: QB Tommy DeVito, LG Isaiah Adams, RG Zy Crisler, OLB Ezekiel Holmes
Illinois’ beginning offensive line averaged 6-6, 316 kilos.
» LT Julian Pearl (6-foot-6, 315 kilos), LG Isaiah Adams (6-5, 315), C Alex Pihlstrom (6-6, 305), RG Zy Crisler (6-6, 330), RT Alex Palczewski (6-6, 315)
OL Alex Palczewski made his 53rd-career begin, changing into Illinois’ all-time chief in begins, breaking a tie with former teammate Vederian Lowe.
RB Chase Brown scored the primary Illinois factors of the season on the primary receiving landing of his profession, a 14-yard reception.
Brown rushed for 151 yards within the recreation, exceeding 2,000 yards for his profession (1,714 yards at Illinois/352 yards at Western Michigan). He has additionally rushed for over 100 yards in back-to-back contests, doing so within the 2021 season finale vs. Northwestern (112 yards).
QB Tommy DeVito made his first begin at Illinois and accomplished 27 of his 37 passes for 192 yards and a couple of touchdowns. DeVito surpassed 4,000 profession yards together with his efficiency (3,866 yards at Syracuse).
WR Pat Bryant led receivers with 42 yards on three catches. His 27 yard reception was the longest passing play by the Illini in the present day.
RB Reggie Love III scored his first-career dashing landing with a 33-yard run within the fourth quarter.