Bret Bielema
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. has agreed to a one-year contract extension through the 2025 season, the school announced Wednesday.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The last time Illinois won its sixth game by mid-October to achieve bowl eligibility, it went on to lose six straight.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Illinois’ breakout season keeps getting better.

The Illini’s 26-9 win over Nebraska on Saturday was nothing flashy, just workmanlike.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Chase Brown just keeps impressing Illinois coach Bret Bielema.

“If there’s a better player in college football who has had an effect on his program,” Bielema said, “I’d like to know who it is.”
Bret Bielema has become something of a streak-snapper since taking the helm at Illinois last season.
Bret Bielema suddenly has No. 24 Illinois looking like a Big Ten West contender in his second year since replacing Lovie Smith as the Illini’s coach.
Second-year coach Bret Bielema and his Illinois football team are achieving at a rate not seen in the program in a long time. A very long time in some cases.
Iowa (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) at Illinois (4-1, 1-1), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)

Line: Illinois by 3 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Things to watch during Week 6 of play in the Big Ten Conference:

GAME OF THE WEEK

Iowa (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) at Illinois (4-1, 1-1)
Wisconsin has fired head coach Paul Chryst after a 2-3 start to his eighth season leading his alma mater.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Illinois coach Bret Bielema had a triumphant return to Camp Randall Stadium because he’s helped make the Fighting Illini physical enough to beat Wisconsin at its own game.
Illinois (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten) at Wisconsin (2-2, 0-1), Saturday, noon ET (Big Ten Network)

Line: Wisconsin by 7, according to FanDuel Sportsbook
Things to watch during Week 5 of play in the Big Ten Conference:

GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 4 Michigan (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) at Iowa (3-1, 1-0)
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Illinois’ Bret Bielema wants to keep the focus off himself as the former Wisconsin coach returns to Camp Randall Stadium with an opposing team for the first time since his surprising exit a decade ago.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Chase Brown rushed for 146 yards on 20 carries, Tommy DeVito threw for 196 yards and two scores and the Illinois defense stifled Virginia’s once-potent attack to lead the Fighting Illini to a 24-3 victory on Saturday.
Illinois (1-0) at Indiana (0-0), Friday, 8 p.m. ET (FS1)

WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Wyoming (0-0) at Illinois (0-0), Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (BTN)

SERIES RECORD: First meeting.
Bret Bielema offered Illinois fans a ray of hope by going 5-7 in a 2021 debut campaign highlighted by a nine-overtime win at Penn State and the first victory over rival Northwestern since 2014.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois must beat a struggling, determined Northwestern team at home on Saturday to keep alive the slimmest of hopes for a bowl bid.
Illinois (4-6, 3-4 Big Ten) at No. 18 Iowa (8-2, 5-2, No. 17 CFP), Saturday at 2 p.m. EST (FS1).

Line: Iowa by 11 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa-Illinois football rivalry is nothing like it was decades ago.

The 18th-ranked Hawkeyes head into Saturday’s home game on a seven-game win streak in the series.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois coach Bret Bielema has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss his team’s game at No. 18 Iowa on Saturday.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A week after outlasting Penn State on the road in an NCAA-record nine overtimes, Illinois has an opportunity to show the program is finally rounding into shape under first-year coach Bret Bielema.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois quarterback Artur Sitkowski will miss the rest of the season after breaking his left arm against Penn State.
Illinois (2-5, 1-3 Big Ten) at No. 7 Penn State (5-1, 2-1), Saturday at 12 p.m. EDT (ABC).

Line: Penn State by 23 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Wisconsin will try to get back on track against Illinois on Saturday after suffering consecutive losses for just the fifth time in seven seasons under coach Paul Chryst.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois has not won a game since August and hosts a surging Charlotte team Saturday that is eager to knock off a Big Ten opponent.
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm decided to pull Jack Plummer during last week’s loss to No. 12 Notre Dame.

Illinois coach Bret Bielema took the opposite approach with Brandon Peters.