Illinois has some bulletin board material this week, if you believe in that kind of thing.

Saturday, the Illini will travel to Connecticut to take on UConn in its second of three non-conference games this season. And when they make the trip, they’ll be hoping to end a really long, ugly streak.

Smith told reporters during his weekly media session on Monday that he was told that Illinois hasn’t won a non-conference road game since 2007. Jeremy Werner of Illini Inquirer confirmed the Illini haven’t won a road non-conference game in the last seven tries.

Smith says he’s using that as motivation.

Illinois started the year on the right foot, registering a convincing 42-3 victory over Akron in the season opener. Now, they take on a UConn team that has been in turmoil in recent years and narrowly escaped with a win over Wagner, 24-21.

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The Illini have the opportunity to challenge for bowl contention if they play as well throughout the season as they did against Akron. But it creates a must-win situation at UConn this week,

Any additional motivation is good. It seems Smith has found some from the ugly road losing streak.