Bret Bielema talked about his team’s first trip inside the top 25 since 2011. Jeremy Werner of 247Sports reported on what he said.

Illinois is the 24th-ranked team in the country after a 5-1 start. Bielema wants this new found excitement to become a catalyst for the program.

“It’s a product of what they’ve built and what they’ve accomplished,” said Bielema. “But it’s not an ending point. Hopefully, it’s a catalyst.”

Bielema knows how important winning can be to a football program. If your football can win some games there’s a whole lot of things that can be improved.

“Winning affects everything. Winning affects your program, it affects recruiting, it affects retainment” of your current players. Affects university, athletic department. “There’s so much positivity in winning you can’t put a dollar figure on it. I want to ride this as long and as high as we possibly can” because it makes everything better for the future.”

Illinois is perhaps facing one of its tougher games this season with Minnesota up next on the schedule. The Golden Gophers are 4-1 through five games.