Illinois adds Western Illinois to 2025 football schedule

By Kevin Kelley -

The Illinois Fighting Illini have added the Western Illinois Leathernecks to their 2025 football schedule, has learned.

A copy of the contract for a football game against Western Illinois University was obtained from the University of Illinois via a state Freedom of Information Act request.

Illinois will host Western Illinois at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill., on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2025. The Fighting Illini will pay the Leathernecks a $500,000 guarantee for the contest, according to the copy of the contract.

Illinois defeated Western Illinois in their first gridiron meeting in 2007, 21-0, and added another victory in their most recent matchup in 2015, 44-0. Both contests were played in Champaign.

Western Illinois is currently a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). However, the Leathernecks are moving to the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) next season, with their football team competing in the Big South-OVC Association.

With the addition of the game against Western Illinois, the Flighting Illini have tentatively completed their non-conference schedule for the 2025 season. After opening the season against WIU, Illinois will travel to face the Duke Blue Devils on Sept. 6 and will host the Western Michigan Broncos two weeks later on Sept. 20.

In Big Ten action in 2025, Illinois is currently scheduled to host Maryland, Northwestern, Ohio State, Rutgers, and USC and will travel to Indiana, Purdue, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Illinois is the third scheduled non-conference opponent for Western Illinois in 2025. The Leathernecks are also slated to host the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on Sept. 13 and visit the Eastern Washington Eagles on Sept. 20.

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