Illinois football selected to ReliaQuest Bowl


Sydney Laput

The Illinois football team lines up on the North endzone as they celebrate their Homecoming victory against Minnesota on Saturday.

By Jonathan Alday, Assistant Sports Editor

Note: This is an ongoing story. Stay tuned for updates.

After an 8-4 season, head coach Bret Bielema and Illinois will travel to Tampa, Florida to play against Mississippi State on January 2nd in the 2023 ReliaQuest Bowl, per Action Network. After being frontrunners for the Big Ten West title, Illinois went on a three-game losing streak against Michigan State, Purdue and a last-second loss to No. 2 Michigan.

This will be the first bowl game bid since the Illini took part in the now-defunct RedBox Bowl in 2019.

Illinois has 19 players who call Florida home, including junior Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year Devon Witherspoon, All-Big Ten Honorees Gabe Jacas, Johnny Newton and Seth Coleman among others.

Illinois holds the No. 1 scoring defense in the country (12.2), ahead of No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Michigan. Illinois also claims the No. 2 overall defense in the country (263.8).

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