That is not how Illinois was hoping to wrap up what has already been a disappointing season.

After a six-win season in 2019 and returning a number of key players on offense, fans were hoping for a strong showing by the Illini in 2020. Unfortunately, that never developed as Illinois won just two games and heads into Champions Week at 2-5.

Some of the losses were tough but understandable, considering the early season quarterback situation and number of players missing due to contact tracing. Illinois was also down some key defenders for the game against Northwestern.

However, those injuries and absences alone cannot explain or account for what Northwestern did in beating the Illinie. Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats rushed for over 400 yards during sloppy weather for a dominant win over Lovie Smith and company, casting doubt for some fans regarding his future with the team.

Here’s what Smith had to say after the game: