Bret Bielema felt pretty good about the state of his secondary after the loss to Mississippi State in the ReliaQuest Bowl. This was without top DB’s Devon Witherspoon and Sydney Brown.

Despite losing to the Bulldogs 19-10, Illinois’ secondary still forced two interceptions from Mississippi State QB Will Rogers. Matthew Bailey and Kendall Smith each recorded a takeaway.

Bielema was quick to shoutout his young secondary, but wished that there was some more consistency from his offense.

“It was one of those days we were a little bit off,” said Bielema.

Bielema’s heart went out to the Illinois players who were not able to play in the game like WR Brian Hightower and TE Luke Ford.

Hightower missed the game due to a hamstring injury, while Ford was one of the many Illinois players that opted out. Chase Brown was another key player that opted out to focus on the 2023 NFL Draft.