Saturday is one time Illinois’ Ryan Walters won’t be hoping for a repeat performance from the team.

After suffering a heartbreaking 24-0 shutout loss to Wisconsin in 2021, Walters doesn’t ever want to feel the same way again. The Illini defensive coordinator says walking off the field after that game “wasn’t fun,” and that preparations have been made over the past year for Saturday’s game specifically.

The Illini are 3-1 on the season, dropping a game to Indiana before starting a 2-game win streak against Virginia and Chattanooga. The Illinois backfield could also see a boost with the potential return of RB Josh McCray.

McCray was the No. 2 back in 2021, and he rushed for 549 yards in the Illinois backfield last season. He had a positive showing in Week 0, rushing for 40 yards on 10 carries in Illinois’ win over Wyoming before suffering a hyperextended knee.

The Illini will need all the help they can get against a strong Wisconsin team who are coming off of a heartbreaking 52-21 loss to Ohio State. Wisconsin is a formidable opponent that Walters describes as a “big, physical up front.”

Illinois will travel to Wisconsin for the B1G battle on Saturday with a noon kickoff.