Lovie Smith and Illinois finally closed the deal on a big-time upset!

After a tough stretch to start the season, the Illini entered Saturday’s game as a 30-point underdog against No. 6 Wisconsin. The Badgers were rolling into Champaign and firing on all cylinders, but they fell flat on the road. In the end, James McCourt nailed a field goal as time expired to finish off the upset.

RELATED: James McCourt drills game-winning field goal, Illinois upsets Wisconsin

Following the win, Lovie Smith addressed the perception that Illinois still has a ways to go as a program. He pointed out that the Illini have had their chances this season, carrying a big lead against Nebraska and building a strong comeback against Michigan last week.

RELATED: Lovie Smith emotional in postgame interview: ‘We needed to get a signature win’

Though those wins slipped away, Smith said he hasn’t lost faith in the direction the program is headed. Matthew Stevens with Illini Maven shared Smith’s comments:

Hopefully, Illinois can build on this success moving forward.