Illinois is going for its first win over Northwestern since 2014, and the team received a special boost ahead of kickoff.

The Illini are having a memorable season and are already bowl eligible. In fact, Illinois is going for win No. 7 against Northwestern.

Unfortunately, the team has been without one special player all season long. That is star defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree. He sustained a serious spinal cord injury during the offseason and has been recovering and rehabbing ever since.

Though the team would undoubtedly love to have Roundtree on the field playing, the Illini received a bit of surprise ahead of Saturday’s kickoff. Roundtree made a special appearance in the locker room and delivered the pre-game speech.

Illinois Football shared photos from the moment:

Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to Roundtree as he continues to battle back from this injury. Hopefully, his presence is a big support to his teammates.