Illinois has yet to win more than four games under coach Lovie Smith, but Smith sounded very confident in his team’s chances this season after a 42-3 victory against Akron — so much so that he doesn’t really want to talk about Illinois’ previous low-win total seasons.
“I’m going to stop talking about last year too,” he said. “We set the bar today for this season.”
#illini Lovie: I'm going to stop talking about last year too. We set the bar today for this season.
— Jeremy Werner (@JWerner247) August 31, 2019
While it came against Akron, who went 4-8, including 2-6 in the MAC last year, Illinois did look very good Saturday afternoon. Junior quarterback Brandon Peters threw for 163 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions. Furthermore, three different Fighting Illini running backs reached the end zone.
Meanwhile, the Illinois defense held Akron to 192 total yards and a 1.7 yards per carry average.
With the victory, Illinois starts 1-0 for the fourth straight year under Smith. The Fighting Illini will face the UConn Huskies on the road next Saturday.