Illinois has started the season with a 7-1 record under second-year head coach Bret Bielema. This is the best start for the Fighting Illini program in over 2 decades, dating back to 2001.

In 2001, Illinois started the season 3-0 before losing to No. 17 Michigan. Illinois finished the regular season 11-1 before losing to No. 12 LSU 47-34 in the Sugar Bowl. 2001 was the last time Illinois captured the B1G title.

No. 17 Illinois is coming off a big 26-9 road win over Nebraska in Week 9. The defense of the Fighting Illini forced 4 turnovers from the offense of Nebraska.

Quarterback Tommy DeVito had a near-perfect performance by completing 20-of-22 of his passes for 179 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a QBR of 92.7. Running back Chase Brown rushed for 149 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries.

With this win over Nebraska, Bielema is now 12-8 overall, and 8-6 in B1G play in his two seasons as the head coach of Illinois.

Illinois continues to command the top of the B1G West ahead of Purdue (5-3; 3-2 in B1G play). Illinois will take on Michigan State in Week 10 at home before a critical game home game against Purdue to help decide the West.