Across central Illinois, the news Sunday morning that Illinois head coach Lovie Smith was leaving the Illini football program brought mixed reviews.

The Illini dropped their final regular season game on Saturday to Northwestern, 28-10 to finish the regular season at 2-5. Smith, in his fifth year as the Illini head coach, went 17-39 (10-33 in the Big Ten) in five seasons at Illinois.

Shortly after current Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman was hired in the winter of 2016, he went out and hired Smith. After leading the Illini to a bowl appearance in 2019, the team had high expectations this fall with many key players returning, but have fallen far short of expectations.

Offensive coordinator Rod Smith will take over head coaching duties for the Illini during its Big Ten Champions Week game, which was also revealed Sunday afternoon. Illinois will travel to Penn State (3-5) for a 4:30 p.m. Saturday kickoff on Fox Sports 1.

Illinois held a team meeting Sunday to inform players of the decision, and aWhitman spoke to the media to discuss the timing of the decision, along with plans to move forward.