Lovie Smith's Illini were in desperate need of a signature win coming into Saturday's homecoming game against No. 6 Wisconsin. How about the largest upset of the college football season?
On a game-winning field goal from James McCourt, Illinois picked up its biggest home win in decades — maybe ever — with a 24-23 victory over the previously unbeaten Badgers and far and above the best victory of Smith's tenure leading Illinois.
Predictably, social media blew up like a powder keg with Illini fans of all generations celebrating the victory.
ILLINOIS JUST BEAT UNDEFEATED NO. 6 WISCONSIN! 🚨 pic.twitter.com/z7PDZsNY1z— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 19, 2019
I am so happy for this kid. He has stood by this team unconditionally. His loyalty and love never waned. And he got to experience a moment that all fans want to experience. #ColtonCourage #Illini #family pic.twitter.com/mAeZw6bqyG— Jason Rahn (Colton's Dad) (@CPbloggerdad) October 19, 2019
My anxiety level for this game has gone from 0 to 100 with the Illini win... pic.twitter.com/VsizJxhuuK— Dr. Zung (@Dr_Zung) October 19, 2019
Several former players, including a few legends, made sure to give a shout-out to the program for the achievement.
We out here! ILLINI’d out all week https://t.co/Fp34jWSJXj— Reilly O'Toole (@ReillyOT4) October 19, 2019
THIS TEAM DESERVES IT! ILL BABY! 🔶🔷 https://t.co/uG2zmIMmqn— Chayce Crouch (@ccrouch07) October 19, 2019
The smack talk started almost immediately, as Illini fans were finally given something to brag about in a season that had been missing a conference win. Memorial Stadium even blared Wisconsin's signature "Jump Around" song to celebrate in the aftermath.
Expect the party to go deep into the night, just probably not for any Badgers fans who had come to town and were looking to rub things in after the game.