Illinois won two straight B1G games for the first time under coach Lovie Smith on Saturday. More importantly, the Fighting Illini won their fourth contest, improving to 4-4 and matching their win total from a season ago.

They did it in dominating fashion too, beating Purdue on the road, 24-6.

After the win, Smith expressed quite a bit of satisfaction with his team, saying they are “feeling it” after defeated Wisconsin by a point last week and the Boilermakers by 18 at Purdue. But he concluded by saying the two wins just make next week’s contest against Rutgers even more important.

“It just makes this third game — that’s how we’re looking at it, the third game of the second season — that much more important,” said Smith.

There’s a pretty good chance Illinois can make it three straight since Rutgers only has two victories this season and they came against UMass and Liberty. If the Fighting Illini can win that matchup, then they will need to pick up just one more victory to earn the school’s first bowl trip since 2014.