The Illinois Fighting Illini have a long road ahead of them if they want to climb out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves in recent years.

Though they have a tough conference schedule year-in and year-out simply by playing in the Big Ten, they are doing themselves a favor with a more manageable non-conference slate.

On Thursday, though, they announced a game against a team that could potentially upset them — the Toledo Rockets. Toledo, which won the MAC title last year, announced a 2023 matchup against the Illini in Champaign.

In a press release, Toledo AD Mike O’Brien said the Rockets are happy to have a big-name opponent on their future schedule:

“The Illinois game adds another quality opponent to our future non-conference football schedule,” said O’Brien. “Over the next few years we will play three teams from the Big Ten (Michigan State and Ohio State), as well as Kentucky and Notre Dame. These are exciting games for our players and are also close enough for our fans to attend in large numbers.”

The Rockets and Illini have never played before. The one-time matchup will take place on Sept. 2, 2023, at Memorial Stadium.