UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 2019 SEASON RECAP
ILLINOIS 42, AKRON 3 – AUG. 31, 2019 – CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS
Illinois dominated all facets of its 42-3 season-opening victory against Akron at Memorial Stadium. New quarterback
Brandon Peters threw three touchdowns on 163 yards passing and added a rushing touchdown in the blowout victory. The
defense was stout - holding the Zips to 192 total yards. Junior linebacker Jake Hansen had a monster fi rst half, tallying
six tackles, a forced fumble and interception.
Illinois recorded 12 tackles for loss, its most since Sept. 1, 2018 against Kent State. The Orange and Blue’s six sacks
were its most since Sept. 3, 2016 against Murray State. Oluwole Betiku Jr. led the Illini with 3.0 tackles for loss, while
he and Tymir Oliver shared the team lead with 1.5 sacks apiece. First-time defensive end starter Ayo Shogbonyo added
a career-high 2.5 tackles for loss.
ILLINOIS 31, CONNECTICUT 23 – SEPT. 7, 2019 – EAST HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT
Brandon Peters threw four touchdown passes to help Illinois outpace the Huskies, 31-23. After trailing 13-0 early, the
Fighting Illini rattled off 24 straight points to take an 11-point lead into halftime. Peters had an impressive second quarter,
passing for 164 yards and three touchdowns.
The Illini rode a second-quarter eruption to victory, scoring 24 unanswered points after the Huskies opened the quarter
with a fi eld goal. The Orange and Blue outgained UConn 212-18 in the second. Peters completed 12 of 13 passes –
including each of his last 10 – for 164 yards and three touchdowns before James McCourt closed the half with a 53-yard
fi eld goal. Oluwole Betiku Jr. was a monster on defense, totaling 3.5 sacks against the Hukies, tied for the fi fth-most in
a game in Illini history.
EASTERN MICHIGAN 34, ILLINOIS 31 – SEPT. 14, 2019 – CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS
Illinois got off to a fast start with 17 fi rst-quarter points against Eastern Michigan and had the game tied 31-31 with
1:44 remaining before falling 34-31 on a last-second fi eld goal. Illinois rallied with 14 points in the fi nal eight minutes
to tie the game.
Josh Imatorbhebhe caught a 36-yard touchdown from Brandon Peters to tie the game with 1:44 left after the drive started
with a big fi rst-down reception from Imatorbhebhe on fourth and 10 from the Illini’s seven-yard line. The tie was shortlived
as EMU drove down the fi eld on the ensuing drive and ended the game with a 24-yard fi eld goal by Chad Ryland.
NEBRASKA 42, ILLINOIS 38 – SEPT. 21, 2019 – CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS
Energized by a stellar student crowd, the Fighting Illini defense forced four turnovers, but it wasn’t enough as Nebraska
came from 14-point down in the third quarter to beat Illinois, 42-38, at Memorial Stadium.
Reggie Corbin exploded on the second offensive snap of the game for a 66-yard touchdown run. The senior fi nished with
134 yards on the ground on 20 carries for a 6.7 yard/carry average.
The Illinois defense had a nose for the ball, forcing four turnovers. The Orange and Blue scooped up four fumbles, including
two by Jartavius Martin. Betiku and Jake Hansen each recovered fumbles of their own, while Tony Adams, Dele Harding,
and Ayo Shogbonyo each forced one.
MINNESOTA 40, ILLINOIS 17 – OCT. 5, 2019 – MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA
The Illinois defense capitalized on a pair of Minnesota turnovers to score two touchdowns, but the offense faltered in
a 40-17 loss at TCF Bank Stadium. Dele Harding and Milo Eifl er each scored their fi rst career touchdowns in the game.
Harding put the game’s fi rst points on the board with a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown. Harding’s pick-six
was the fi rst against Minnesota since September 22, 2018.
Eifl er added a second defensive touchdown in the third quarter, scooping up a fumble caused by Jake Hansen and
returning it seven yards to pay dirt. The recovery was the fi rst of Eifl er’s career.
#16 MICHIGAN 42, ILLINOIS 25 – OCT. 12, 2019 – CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS
Illinois rallied from a 28-point defi cit to get within three, but No. 16 Michigan prevailed in a 42-25 contest at Memorial
Stadium. The Illini scored 25 unanswered points to turn a 28-0 hole into a 28-25 game before the Wolverines pulled away
late with a aid of a pair of Illini turnovers.
The Illini held Michigan to 11 yards of total offense on 11 plays in the third quarter, including just two yards rushing after
a fi ve-yard run on the fi nal play of the period. Illinois yielded just two fi rst downs and stopped the Wolverines on both
of their third down attempts. The Orange and Blue controlled the ball for 10:50 of the 15 minutes, including an 80-yard
touchdown drive that ate up 7:27.
Senior running back Dre Brown found the end zone on a one-yard run and converted the ensuing two-point conversion
with 12:50 to play in the fourth quarter to cut the Michigan lead to 28-25. The touchdown, Brown’s second of the season,
brought Illinois’ total to 25 unanswered points.