Like many teams in 2020, Illinois had to change on the fly last week. The Illini were slated to go up against Ohio State this past Saturday, but the game was canceled because of COVID cases within the Buckeye program.

That meant Lovie Smith’s team now had extra time to prepare for its next game. It’s a home tilt against Iowa.

Smith talked to the media on Monday during his regularly scheduled press conference. As expected, there was talk about last week’s cancelation.

The Hawkeyes handed Illinois a loss in the penultimate regular season game during 2019. In 2018, Iowa went into Champagne and hung 63 points on the Illini. Smith surely hasn’t forgotten that and knows the challenge for playing Iowa.

Besides not playing this past weekend, Illinois dealt with some other bad news as the team learned of two different starters being ruled out for the season due to injury.

Illinois certainly showed some signs of progress two weeks ago against Nebraska. However, the Illini haven’t proven it against a high-level opponent. There’s a chance for Smith’s squad to do that Saturday against Iowa.