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Following ReliaQuest Bowl, Here’s a Look Ahead at Illinois Football’s 2023 Schedule – NBC Chicago


After playing in their first bowl game under head coach Bret Bielema, the Illinois Fighting Illini will turn their attention to preparations for the 2023 campaign, which is shaping up to be a fascinating one in Champaign.

Illinois ultimately lost Monday’s ReliaQuest Bowl to the Mississippi State Bulldogs, their third straight defeat in postseason play. They have not won a bowl game since 2011’s Fight Hunger Bowl against UCLA after a 19-10 defeat at the hands of the Bulldogs in Tampa Bay.

Exactly eight months from Monday, the Illini will open their 2023 season at home at Memorial Stadium when they take on the Toledo Rockets, fresh off an appearance in the Boca Raton Bowl, which they won 21-19 over Liberty.

The Illini will also travel to Lawrence to take on Kansas, who lost in triple-overtime to Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl.

Among the conference games on the docket this year, Illinois will face Penn State, a squad that lost just two games in the 2022 season before earning a berth in the Rose Bowl. That will be their conference opener on Sept. 16 in Champaign.

The Illini will also travel to Lafayette to take on Purdue, the team that kept them from a west division title and a berth in the Big Ten title game this season. That game will take place on Sept. 30.

The Illini will welcome the Wisconsin Badgers, Indiana Hoosiers and Northwestern Wildcats to Champaign this season, while taking a road trip to the East Coast to face Maryland in mid-October. Road matchups against Minnesota and Iowa could spell a tough November for Illinois down the stretch.

In all, Illinois will play seven games against teams that were bowl-eligible in 2022.   

Here is the full schedule of games.

Notes: All Illinois games are currently scheduled for Saturdays in the 2023 season. No game times have been set.

Sept. 2: vs. Toledo

Sept. 9: at Kansas

Sept. 16: vs. Penn State

Sept. 23: vs. Florida Atlantic

Sept. 30: at Purdue

Oct. 7: vs. Nebraska

Oct. 14: at Maryland

Oct. 21: vs. Wisconsin

Oct. 28: Bye

Nov. 4: at Minnesota

Nov. 11: vs. Indiana

Nov. 18: at Iowa

Nov. 25: vs. Northwestern

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