Redbox Bowl: Week At A Glance


Jonathan Bonaguro

The 2019 Redbox Bowl trophy displayed at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco during Illinois and California’s pregame press conference on Dec. 27. Photo taken by Jonathan Bonaguro.

By The Daily Illini Sports Staff

Although the first fan-oriented event won’t take place until Sunday, the Illini are already preparing for Monday’s Redbox Bowl at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Head coach Lovie Smith and company touched down in the Bay Area Thursday, followed by a full day of practice, press conferences, and team activities Friday.

Day One

The team got to work Friday with practice in the morning and a press conference featuring California head coach Justin Wilcox, Lovie Smith, seniors Reggie Corbin and Dele Harding, and graduate transfer Brandon Peters. Following the remarks on Monday’s game, both programs trekked to Alcatraz Island for team tours, which was closed to the media.

Illinois capped off its first full day by attending a Golden State Warriors game against the Pheonix Suns around 7:30 p.m. PT.

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Day Two

The Illini kicked off Saturday with a trip to St. Anthony’s Dining Room in San Francisco, followed by afternoon practice at Laney College across the Bay in Oakland, Calif. Illinois is set to end the night with a Cable Car team dinner at Players at Pier 39.

Day Three

The build-up to the bowl game continues Sunday with a pep rally at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco at noon. The rally is free and open to the public and will give fans a chance to hear from California and Illinois players and coaches along with entertainment from the Marching Illini.

Lovie Smith and co. will break off from the pep rally sometime in the afternoon for a walkthrough at Levi Stadium, the cite of the Redbox Bowl, in Santa Clara, Calif. The walkthrough will be closed to the media.

The Illini are set to close out the day with Bowl Bash at the Bay, another event free to fans, at Public House at Oracle Park in San Francisco beginning at 5:30 p.m. and ending around 7:30 p.m. According to Illinois’ Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, the event will feature complimentary appetizers, non-alcoholic beverages, a cash bar, and opportunities for fans to win Illini-themed door prizes. Additionally, there will be a special radio show with Illini announcer Brian Barnhart and color analyst and former Illini All-American Martin O’Donnell.

Illinois Athletics said fans are encouraged to RSVP in order to reserve the appropriate space.

Day Four

The day fans have been waiting for – gameday.

But before the game, Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman will host his annual Gameday Run Club at 7 a.m., leaving from Embarcadero Plaza outside San Francisco’s Hyatt Regency, Illinois’ team hotel. Following the run, Whitman will host a Q&A with complimentary donuts and water. According to Illinois Athletics, the run is open to fans and is about four miles.

At 10 a.m. PT, the University of Illinois Alumni Association is hosting the Fighting Illini Fan Fest Pregame Party in Exhibit Hall A at the Santa Clara Convention Center, next to Levi Stadium. The party is poised to run until about 12:30 p.m. PT and will feature a buffet, the Marching Illini and cheerleaders. Registration for this event closed on Dec. 23 at noon.

California (7-5; 4-5) and Illinois (6-6; 4-5) will kick off the Redbox Bowl at Levi Stadium 1 p.m. PT, or 3 p.m. CT. Fans can watch the game on FOX or get live updates on The Daily Illini Sport’s Twitter, @di_sports, or Instagram, @thedailyillinisports.

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