Nov 20, 2021; Iowa City, Iowa, USA;  Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz and Illinois Fighting Illini acting head coach George McDonald meet before the game at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Kick return sparks No. 17 Iowa past Illinois

Charlie Jones sparked slow-starting Iowa with a school-record 100-yard kickoff return touchdown and Tyler Goodson rushed 27 times for 132 yards as the No. 17 Hawkeyes defeated Illinois, 33-23, on Saturday afternoon in Iowa City.

Caleb Shudak added four field goals, including the game-clincher with 1:55 left, as Iowa (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) kept its hopes alive for a conference title. The Hawkeyes entered tied with Wisconsin for the lead in the Big Ten West.

After the outcome was decided, both teams scored touchdowns in the final two minutes. Jack Campbell had a 32-yard interception return touchdown for Iowa, which leads the nation with 21 interceptions. Illinois capped the scoring with 31 seconds left.

In falling to Iowa for the eighth straight time, Illinois (4-7, 3-5) saw its hopes end for a postseason bowl. The Illini were without head coach Bret Bielema, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week. Assistant head coach George McDonald assumed Bielema’s duties.

Gunning for its third road upset of a ranked team in its last four games, Illinois drove for a touchdown on the game’s first possession but got little else on offense. Iowa limited top rusher Chase Brown to 42 yards on 13 carries, while Brandon Peters completed 16 of 36 passes for 248 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Peters gave Illinois the lead with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Luke Ford. When a low snap went through the legs of Iowa punter Tory Taylor, the Hawkeyes lost 29 yards on the play to set up a 46-yard field goal by James McCourt that put the Illini up 10-0.

But Jones made his tide-turning play as he received the ensuing kickoff next to a goal-line pylon, ran to the other side of the field and streaked up the left sideline for the touchdown.

Iowa took the lead for good in the second quarter when wideout Arland Bruce scored on a 2-yard carry. Bruce helped set up the score with a key 28-yard reception to convert a third down.

It remained a one-score game as the teams traded field goals until Shudak made his late kick.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Bret Bielema before the start of Saturday s NCAA football game with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois head coach Bret Bielema tests positive, out vs. Iowa

Illinois head coach Bret Bielema is out for Saturday’s game against Iowa after a breakthrough case of COVID-19 was confirmed on Monday.

Bielema, who is vaccinated and received a booster shot recently, tested positive but feels well enough to be involved from a distance as the Fighting Illini (4-6) ready for the Big Ten date with the Hawkeyes (8-2) on Saturday.

Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman said the positive test was another reminder “the pandemic is not over” but said preparation for a potential COVID-19 case on the coaching staff helped the team enact a plan for the week ahead.

Illinois assistant head coach George McDonald will assume Bielema’s gameday responsibilities.

“If all stays on the current path,” Bielema said in a statement issued through the school on Tuesday, “I should be available and present for next week.”

“I’m disappointed that I will not be with our team this week when we travel to Iowa, but I’m grateful that I’m vaccinated and received the booster shot last week.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini running back Chase Brown (2) runs the ball against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the second quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois gets defensive in 14-6 upset of No. 20 Minnesota

Chase Brown rushed for 150 yards, Brandon Peters passed for a touchdown and the Illinois defense recorded six sacks to lift the Fighting Illini to a 14-6 Big Ten Conference road upset of No. 20 Minnesota on Saturday at Minneapolis.

Illinois (4-6, 3-4 Big Ten) snapped the Golden Gophers’ four-game winning streak, earning their second road victory against a ranked foe in the past three weeks.

Minnesota (6-3, 4-2), which entered play as the leader in the Big Ten West, sputtered to a 4-for-13 effort on third down. The home crowd booed the Golden Gophers in the fourth quarter as opportunities continued to slip away.

Hels scoreless for three quarters, Tanner Morgan scored on a 1-yard run with 4:49 remaining to draw Minnesota to within the final margin. Matthew Trickett, who missed a 45-yard field goal attempt earlier in the game, pulled the extra point wide left.

With his team trailing 14-0 with 2:39 left in the third quarter, Golden Gophers coach P.J. Fleck elected to go for it on 4th-and-6 from the Illinois 22. Owen Carney Jr. thwarted the play with a sack of Morgan. Minnesota turned the ball over on downs twice inside Illinois’ 30-yard line.

Minnesota’s top receiver, Chris Autman-Bell, left the game with an apparent head injury earlier in the third quarter after falling hard to the turf as he leapt for a deep pass that went incomplete.

While its defense shined with consistent pressure, the Illinois offense did just enough while being outgained 289-265.

Tarique Barnes intercepted Morgan on Minnesota’s first possession of the game, setting up a short field for Illinois, which capitalized with a 2-yard scoring run from Isaiah Williams with 8:15 to play in the first quarter.

Illinois visited the end zone on its next possession, as well, as Peters capped an 11-play, 86-yard drive with a 15-yard TD pass to Tip Reiman on the first play of the second quarter.

Stout against the run for much of the season, the Golden Gophers allowed 185 yards on the ground, more than twice their average entering the game. Brown averaged 4.5 yards on 33 carries. Peters was 7-of-9 passing for 80 yards.

Ky Thomas led Minnesota with 60 yards rushing on 16 carries. Morgan was 15 of 28 for 180 yards and two interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Noah Vedral (0) is tackled by Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Sydney Brown (30) in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers rallies past Illinois to halt four-game slide

Noah Vedral ran for the go-ahead 15-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter and Rutgers halted a four-game losing streak with a 20-14 victory over Illinois in Big Ten action Saturday afternoon in Champaign, Ill.

Vedral survived two trips to the sideline medical tent and produced a strong all-around showing as the Scarlet Knights (4-4, 1-4 Big Ten) won for the first time since beating Delaware on Sept. 18.

Vedral completed 10 of 21 passes for 138 yards and also gained 56 yards on six carries as Rutgers gained 230 yards on the ground against the Fighting Illini (3-6, 2-4).

His biggest run came after he returned from his second trip to the tent. Two plays after Gavin Wimsatt kept the drive alive by hitting Bo Melton for a 13-yard reception on fourth-and-5 in his collegiate debut, Vedral stayed in bounds with a 15-yard run down the left sideline for a 17-14 lead with 14:16 to play.

Isaih Pacheco led Rutgers with 91 rushing yards and Kyle Monangai added 77, including a 7-yard TD with 4:20 left in the first quarter.

Valentino Ambrosio kicked field goals of 35 and 25 yards for Rutgers, which bounced back nicely from a 21-7 loss at Northwestern two weeks ago.

Coming off last week’s record-setting nine overtime win at Penn State, Illinois turned to Brandon Peters after former Rutgers quarterback Art Sitkowski suffered a season-ending arm injury.

Peters completed 14 of 19 passes for 190 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He threw a 52-yard TD to Isaiah Williams with about 10 minutes left in the second quarter for a 7-7 tie and added a 26-yard TD to Daniel Barker with 1:28 left that put Illinois up 14-10 at halftime.

Chase Brown was held to 67 rushing yards after getting 223 at Penn State. He was stopped by Rutgers defensive back Kessawn Abraham for a 4-yard loss with 65 seconds left that essentially sealed the win for Rutgers.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Brandon Peters (18) runs with the ball as Wisconsin Badgers defensive tackle Keeanu Benton (95) pursues in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

After marathon win, Illinois out to make quick work of Rutgers

Illinois is riding high after surviving the longest game in college football history and knocking off an elite opponent.

Coming off a nine-overtime win at Penn State, Illinois seeks a second straight win when it hosts skidding Rutgers Saturday afternoon.

The Fighting Illini (3-5, 2-3 Big Ten) pulled off a 20-18 win at then No. 7 Penn State when it won the NCAA’s first nine-overtime game. Casey Washington caught the game-winning two-point conversion from Brandon Peters to cap a game that was deadlocked at 10-all after regulation.

Peters, who began the season as the starter, threw the winning pass in place of former Rutgers quarterback Artur Sitkowski, who was injured in the sixth overtime. Sitkowski, who suffered a broken arm, is out for the season.

“We had to just dig deep — dig deep inside,” Illinois defensive lineman Keith Randolph said. “I felt like we were built for this. All of our training paid off. We don’t want games like this, but we want to win games like this.

The upset occurred two weeks after Illinois totaled 93 yards and held the ball for 17:17 in a 24-0 loss to Wisconsin. Against Penn State — which entered the game allowing 110.3 rushing yards — Chase Brown finished with 223 yards and Josh McCray added 142 as Illinois finished with 357 rushing yards, marking the second time it has rushed for 300 yards this season.

While Illinois was making history, Rutgers, (3-4, 0-4) has had two weeks to stew over a 21-7 loss at Northwestern. The Scarlet Knights are on a four-game losing streak and have totaled 46 points after scoring 123 points in a season-opening three-game winning streak against Temple, Syracuse and Delaware.

Against Northwestern, quarterback Noah Vedral was 18 of 30 for 152 yards and Rutgers totaled 222 yards of offense while getting penalized 11 times for 90 yards after entering the game as the conference’s least penalized team.

“Totally unacceptable,” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. “We were doing really well at the beginning of the year; we were No. 1 in the country in penalties. … (against Northwestern) we fell off a cliff.”

“It’s very disappointing. We certainly have to assess where we are and why we’re here and see what we can do to fix it. Some of it is personnel; some of it is execution. We’re trying to find an answer.”

Saturday is the eighth all-time meeting, and Illinois notched its third straight win in the series on Nov. 14, 2020 in Piscataway, N.J. when it rushed for 338 yards, forced three interceptions and got a game-winning field goal from James McCourt in a 23-20 win.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Artur Sitkowski (9) runs with the ball past Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Jesse Luketa (40) during the first half at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois upsets No. 7 Penn State in record ninth OT

Brandon Peters found Casey Washington for the decisive two-point conversion in the ninth overtime as visiting Illinois upset No. 7 Penn State 20-18 on Saturday in the longest game in FBS history, in terms of overtimes.

Prior to Saturday’s thriller in University Park, Pa., five previous FBS games had reached seven overtimes.

Peters came on in the fifth OT in relief of an injured Artur Sitkowski, who finished with just 38 yards on 8-of-19 passing for Illinois (3-5, 2-3 Big Ten). The Illini also persevered without injured running back Chase Brown, who exited after running for 223 yards and a touchdown.

The game presented itself as a potential trap for Penn State (5-2, 2-2), which lost a heartbreaker to No. 3 Iowa in its last contest and also faces a top-five foe next week in No. 5 Ohio State.

And sure enough, Illinois outplayed Penn State for much of the game. The Illini outgained the Nittany Lions 395-227, converted 9 of 18 third downs (compared to 4 of 17 for Penn State), and held the ball for 36:25 of the 60 minutes in regulation.

Penn State converted a fourth-and-1 on the first possession of overtime and went ahead soon thereafter on Jordan Stout’s 31-yard field goal. On the ensuing possession, Illinois’s third-down trick play was nearly intercepted before James McCourt’s 39-yard field goal evened the score.

The Illini drove to the 4 to begin the second OT before settling for McCourt’s 22-yard field goal. The Nittany Lions then failed to convert a third-and-2 run and, following a false start penalty, Stout drilled a 40-yarder to forge a 16-16 tie.

That sent the contest into a two-point conversion battle. Penn State went first and attempted a wide receiver pass to quarterback Sean Clifford, who couldn’t hang on with the end zone in his sights. Illinois then had the potential winning pass go off the fingertips of Josh McCray, who was open on the play.

To begin the fourth overtime, Sitkowski tried to scramble before deciding late to throw, and it fell incomplete. He injured his left arm on the play. Penn State had a chance to win, but Clifford’s throw into traffic was incomplete.

In the fifth OT, the Nittany Lions’ Noah Cain broke a few tackles but ultimately came nowhere near the end zone. Then Peters threw a bullet into the end zone that was broken up by Ellis Brooks.

Peters got another chance in the sixth OT, but his pass sailed out of the back of the end zone. That gave another opportunity to Penn State, which tried a shovel pass that Brenton Strange caught before getting stood up near the goal line.

Cain opened overtime No. 7 by taking a handoff right to the goal line, but he was ruled short of the end zone. Illinois tried a running play on its turn as well, but McCray lost yardage on the play.

After each team failed on its first five two-point tries, Isaiah Williams caught the go-ahead score for Illinois in the eighth overtime. Cain then took a handoff up the middle for Penn State, plunging into the end zone to tie it 18-18.

Clifford’s pass to begin the ninth overtime was broken up. Peters then found Washington, who held on despite getting drilled on the play, and the Illini players stormed onto the field.

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA;  Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Bret Bielema enters the field with his team before the start of Saturday   s game with the UTSA Roadrunners at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin visits Illini for Bielema Bowl

While each team’s search for offensive consistency will be the focus once Wisconsin kicks off at Illinois in a Big Ten clash Saturday, much of the pregame attention will land on first-year Illini coach Bret Bielema facing his former team for the first time.

Bielema coached Wisconsin for seven seasons, where he was 68-24 three two Rose Bowl appearances before surprisingly leaving for Arkansas following the last regular-season game in 2012. Bielema was 29-34 with the Razorbacks before being fired after five seasons.

Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst was the Badgers’ offensive coordinator under Bielema.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for everything that Paul’s done. Obviously, he and I have known each for a long time,” Bielema said. “But this game is about the University of Illinois football vs. the University of Wisconsin football.

“Every game is a big game when you’re in the infancy of a program when we’re trying to build a foundation of how we’re going to play,” Bielema said. “I’m excited because it’s a Big Te=n game, a Big Ten West opponent that is a really good football team, that’s been able to sustain success for a long time.”

Illinois (2-4, 1-2 Big Ten) opened the season with a 30-22 victory over Nebraska, but then lost four in a row before scoring a 24-14 nonconference win over Charlotte behind two second-half touchdowns from Chase Brown, who ran for 257 yards.

Wisconsin (1-3, 0-2) is coming off a 38-17 loss at home to Michigan, which climbed from No. 14 to ninth in the AP poll.

The Badgers are 1-3 for the first time since former coach Barry Alvarez’s first season in 1990, when the Badgers finished 1-10. Wisconsin, ranked 12th in the preseason poll, also has lost to ranked teams Penn State and Notre Dame, with its only victory over Eastern Michigan.

“We get to choose the direction that we go and I’m confident in the group that we have,” Chryst said. “We’re going to make this a great week of preparation so we can go out and play our best.”

Wisconsin remains something of an unknown, insofar as their three defeats all came against ranked teams, when the Badgers were outscored in the fourth quarter 58-13. That means in the first three quarters of those games, Wisconsin has played evenly (27-27).

The Badgers are scoring just 18.5 points per game, last in the Big Ten. Illinois is one spot above at 20.7.

Illinois had season highs of 336 yards rushing and 414 yards total offense last week against Charlotte.

Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz is questionable after suffering a chest injury on a vicious sack in the first series of the second half against Michigan. Reserve Chase Wolf lost a fumble and thew an interception, completing 3 of 8 passes for 52 yards — with 25 of those on a consolation touchdown in the closing minute.

Long-known for an overpowering ground game with a massive offensive line opening running room for the likes of Jonathan Taylor and Melvin Gordon — even going back to 1999 Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne — Wisconsin currently ranks tied for 64th nationally in rushing offense (163 yards a game).

The Badgers managed just 43 yards rushing against Michigan at a paltry 1.3 yards per carry. For the season, they have rushed for just five touchdowns and four of them came against Eastern Michigan.

The Badgers have committed 11 turnovers (their 2.75 per game is worst among the 130 FBS teams) and are just 16 of 62 (25.8 percent) on third-down conversions – ranking 129th nationally.

Wisconsin’s defense has kept the Badgers close against their ranked opponents. They lead the nation in rushing defense, yielding just 45.2 yards per game and 1.6 yards per attempt. The Badgers have allowed just one rushing play of more than 10 yards.

Wisconsin is third nationally in total defense at 249 yards per game. Illinois is ranked 98th, giving up 417.3 yards per contest.

Wisconsin has won 10 of the last 11 meetings with Illinois, including a 45-7 victory last season at Madison in which Mertz threw five touchdown passes in his first collegiate start.

On Wisconsin’s last trip to Illinois, in 2019, the Illini shocked the sixth-ranked Badgers, 24-23, on James McCourt’s 39-yard field goal as time expired. Illinois overcame a 23-14 deficit in the last six minutes, using a late interception by Tony Adams Jr. to set up the winning score.

Adams has eight field goals this season, including a 53-yarder, and Adams has one interception for the Illini, giving him six for his career.

Wisconsin leads the all-time series, 43-37-7.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Bret Bielema looks on from the sideline against the Maryland Terrapins at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Brown, Illinois run all over Charlotte

Chase Brown rushed for 257 yards and two touchdowns to fuel Illinois to a 24-14 victory over visiting Charlotte on Saturday afternoon in Champaign, Ill.

Brown’s rushing total was the fourth-best performance in a single game in school history.

The Fighting Illini (2-4) ended a four-game losing streak. Illinois head coach Bret Bielema also earned his 99th career victory.

Illinois’ Brandon Peters did a nice job of managing the offense. He completed 10 of 19 passes for 78 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.

For Charlotte (3-2), Chase Reynolds finished 17 of 23 for 191 passing yards and two touchdowns with an interception. Victor Tucker had five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown, while Grant DuBose finished with four receptions for 70 yards.

Illinois opened the scoring with a 17 play, 64-yard drive that finished with a James McCourt 29-yard field goal.

However, Charlotte responded with a 10-play, 75-yard drive of its own. The 49ers capped the drive with a 22-yard touchdown reception by Tucker.

Illinois regained the lead on Peters’ first touchdown pass of the season, a 10-yard completion over the middle to tight end Daniel Barker for a score.

However, Charlotte struck again just before the half. Reynolds found freshman receiver Elijah Spencer for a 27-yard score on a fade route with 46 seconds left in the first half, putting the 49ers up 14-10.

After forcing Charlotte to punt to start the second half, Illinois took the lead for good on a 10-play, 94-yard drive. Brown capped the drive with a 31-yard run.

After Charlotte’s Jonathan Cruz missed a 39-yard field goal, Brown extended the Fighting Illini advantage to 24-14 lead with an 80-yard jaunt up the sideline for a score.

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2021; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA;  Purdue Boilermakers running back Dylan Downing (38) evades a tackle against Illinois Fighting Illini linebacker Tarique Barnes (44) during the first quarter at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Aidan O’Connell, Purdue edge Illinois in defensive affair

Aidan O’Connell went 12-of-19 passing for 182 yards and a touchdown to help Purdue earn a 13-9 home win over Illinois in a Big 10 contest that was a defensive struggle on Saturday.

With Purdue trailing 9-6 in the fourth quarter, O’Connell hit TJ Sheffield for a 14-yard touchdown with 5:44 remaining for what turned out to be the game-winning points.

The score capped off a 10-play, 94-yard drive.

In the final minute, Illinois drove down to the Purdue 19-yard line, but four straight incompletions turned the ball over on downs and ended the game.

Milton Wright caught seven passes for 88 yards for Purdue (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten).

Josh McCray rushed for 156 yards on 24 carries and Brandon Peters went 14-of-26 passing for 100 yards in defeat for Illinois (1-4, 1-2).

Purdue took the opening kickoff and marched 69 yards in 15 plays, taking a 3-0 lead with 8:31 left in the first quarter on a 23-yard field goal by Mitchell Fineran.

The Boilermakers took a 6-0 lead with 3:34 left in the first quarter on a 30-yard field goal by Fineran.

Illinois got on the scoreboard with 2:24 remaining in the second quarter, cutting the Purdue lead to 6-3 on a 51-yard field goal by James McCourt.

With 8:18 remaining in the third quarter, Illinois mounted a 13-play, 58-yard drive and tied the game at 6-6 on a 35-yard field goal by McCourt.

Purdue mounted a drive and had a first-and-goal at the Illinois 4-yard line, but on second down, O’Connell had a pass tipped and intercepted in the end zone by Kerby Joseph of Illinois.

The Fighting Illini took advantage of the turnover, driving down the field and taking a 9-6 lead with 14:51 remaining in the game on a 45-yard field goal by McCourt.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Jer'Zhan Newton (94) sacks Maryland Terrapins quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (3) in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois aims to field healthier roster against Purdue

Illinois has played one more game overall than Big Ten rival Purdue and also has two conference games under its belt compared with zero for the Boilermakers.

While that might be construed as an advantage for the Fighting Illini entering Saturday’s visit to West Lafayette, Ind., injury concerns are a neutralizer.

Illinois (1-3, 1-1) hopes the game will mark the first time the team’s starting center, quarterback and running back share the field in 2021.

Coach Bret Bielema offered encouraging news this week, saying center Doug Kramer and starting running back Chase Brown are expected to play Saturday. Kramer missed last Friday’s 20-17 loss to Maryland with an ailing right foot, while Brown is nursing an undisclosed injury.

Starting defensive lineman Keith Randolph (undisclosed) also might return as Illinois takes on the Boilermakers (2-1, 0-0).

“I’m excited to hopefully get a little bit deeper and stronger at certain positions,” Bielema said. “We are driven a lot off what we do in practice and the players that we’ve got to play with. When we get healthier and get more consistent with those players practicing, that’s when we’ll make big steps.”

Victory eluded both teams one week ago.

Purdue faced just a four-point deficit entering the fourth quarter at No. 12 Notre Dame before the Fighting Irish pulled away for a 27-13 win.

The Boilermakers lost top receiver David Bell to injury during the game. Bell contributed seven receptions for 64 yards and stands 21 yards shy of 2,000 for his career.

Whether he gets the chance to match or surpass that mark against Illinois remains to be seen, however. Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said Bell was in the concussion protocol and the team is “seeing how he progresses.”

Fellow receiver Mershawn Rice (foot) also was injured and “will be out for an extended period of time,” Brohm said.

Illinois, meanwhile, squandered a fourth-quarter lead in a loss to visiting Maryland. The Terrapins scored 10 points in the final 2:13, capped by Joseph Petrino’s 32-yard field goal as time expired.

Brohm said Purdue is prepared for an improved and resolved Fighting Illini team.

“They’re 1-1 in the conference; could easily be 2-0,” he said. “They let one slip away against Maryland. They’re playing competitive football. They play aggressive. They’re a physical football team. They’re going to be hungry.”

Making his first start since sustaining an injury early in the season opener against Nebraska, Illinois quarterback Brandon Peters completed 10 of 26 passes for 185 yards, with an interception.

“There were some learning moments, just like every starting quarterback,” Bielema said. “He’s definitely our starting quarterback this week and moving forward; hopefully, he’s going to continue to improve and get better.”

Purdue’s Jack Plummer and Aidan O’Connell combined for 291 passing yards at Notre Dame, with the former completing 25 of 36 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game with an undisclosed injury.

While Brohm tapped Plummer as the starter against Illinois, that doesn’t guarantee he’ll finish the game.

“Both guys have played for us and have played good football, and like every position on our team, if we have a position we feel good about, we’re not going to be afraid to play multiple guys,” Brohm said.

–Field Level Media