"He's practiced the last two days," Illini coach Bret Bielema said Thursday. "He's a guy that definitely brought a lot of energy in the games he was a part of."
"I tell these guys week in and week out, 'If we play bad on the back end, we have no chance to win.'"
Washington has seven receptions for 54 yards this season and is on pace to have more catches this year than in years past. However, it's actually his non-catching plays that have been the most impactful for the Illini.
"For me, just the feel of the game, you can feel the ebbs and flows and momentum changes (on the sideline), whereas in the box sometimes you can't. I felt like I was back to my comfort zone as a play caller."
After Illinois' narrow loss to Maryland, coach Bret Bielema said he liked the "combo platter" of Brown and McCray. On Monday, offensive coordinator Tony Petersen announced that the "combo platter" is now the main course.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — In a second half full of mistakes, Maryland was running out of time. Then everything started to click for quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa and the Terrapins.
"He's pissed at himself and that's what I love about him. He's a competitor, he wants to succeed at every play and make the right decisions, and we gotta learn from that because that game's behind us now."
“All I want to know is the truth,” Bielema said Friday. “ ... You see a lot of kids get caught up in the moment. Seth looked right at me and he was like, ‘Coach, that’s out. That’s out.’"
Maryland defeated Illinois 20-17 on Friday.
Illinois had its chances but squandered an early fourth-quarter lead Friday as Maryland's Joseph Petrino kicked a 32-yard field goal in the final seconds to lift the Terrapins to a 20-17 walk-off win.
"It is surreal to look back and to listen to people read off the accomplishments that not only I was able to do but we were able to do as a team."
"He's sharp, he's healthy, he's ready to go," Illinois offensive coordinator Tony Petersen said.
"They're a very dynamic group that scores a lot of points. (They're) able to run the ball, throw the ball, really a pretty balanced attack," first-year Illinois coach Bret Bielema said.
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Details of Underwood's extension were not disclosed, but the contract "will move his total annual compensation into the top 10 nationally," per a press release.
The senior linebacker is pretty good at forcing fumbles.
After two losses, Illinois is looking for a something to help right the ship. Next up on Friday is a tough, balanced Maryland team.
"I got my first tackle on special teams back with (former special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky)," Joseph said. " ... Since then it's just been like every time I'm out there, my heart's pumping and my head's racing."
"It felt really good," Brown said of reaching the end zone for the first time this year. "The biggest thing about that play is that if you go back and watch it, it was blocked perfectly."
"When my number got called, it was overwhelming. I couldn't believe it," McCray said with a wide smile. "I just had to go out there and execute."
The sixth-year senior entered the season as the Illini’s QB1 before being knocked out of the season opener with an “AC joint sprain” to his left (non-throwing) shoulder, according to the ACC Network.
Will Illinois show more composure than it did Saturday or will hotheaded outbursts become a trend as the season continues?
"I got to work with (Virginia offensive coordinator Robert Anae) at the University of Arizona, my first full-time job, and he's the king of designer of the weeks," Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters said Monday.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — After seeing his offense start slowly in its season-opening win over William & Mary, Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall designed his practices this week to correct that.
"I took an unbelievable risk, leaving my home and all I knew to come here and prove that I am a Division I scholarship athlete. As of (Wednesday), I became that."
"I don't really go out there with the intent to break records. I go out there with the intent to try and win a game for the guys, and the fact that records come along with that is a very humbling thing."