UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 2019 SEASON RECAP
ILLINOIS 24, #6 WISCONSIN 23 – OCT. 19, 2019 – CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS
James McCourt’s 39-yard fi eld goal as time expired gave Illinois its fi rst lead of the game and No. 6 Wisconsin its fi rst
loss of the 2019 season, 24-23, at Memorial Stadium. The win was the Illini’s fi rst over a ranked opponent since 2011,
and the Badgers were the highest-ranked team the Illini had defeated since 2007.
The right-footed junior capped a nine-play fi nal drive that started with junior cornerback Tony Adams’ interception with
2:32 left in regulation. Fighting Illini fans stormed the fi eld in celebration as McCourt’s kick sailed through the uprights.
Junior linebacker Jake Hansen forced two Badger fumbles, bringing his nation-leading total for the season to seven. Both
fumbles recovered against Wisconsin led to an Illini touchdown.
The 29.5-point underdog Illini pulled off perhaps the biggest upset of the entire college football season. Illinois trailed 23-
14 midway through the fourth quarter, but rallied for 10 points in the fi nal six minutes to pull off the upset.
ILLINOIS 24, PURDUE 6 – OCT. 26, 2019 – WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIANA
Illinois rushed for a season-high 242 yards in a 24-6 win on a rain-soaked fi eld at Ross-Ade Stadium to improve to 4-4 on
the season and capture “The Cannon” rivalry trophy. Senior running back Dre brown set a career high with 131 yards on
the ground, and the Illini defense forced two turnovers in the victory.
One week removed from an interception that set up the game-winning drive in the Illini’s upset of No. 6 Wisconsin, junior
defensive back Tony Adams came up with another big takeaway. Adams’ 13-yard pick-six in the second quarter was the
game’s fi rst touchdown. The score was the fi rst of Adams’ career and Illinois’ third defensive touchdown of the year.
Senior linebacker Dele Harding forced a fumble that was recovered by senior safety Stanley Green in the third quarter for
Illinois’ nation-leading 13th fumble recovery of the season. Green’s third fumble recovery of the season and subsequent
29-yard return set the Illini up at the Purdue 22-yard line. Senior running back Reggie Corbin capitalized with a 20-yard
ILLINOIS 38, RUTGERS 10 – NOV. 2, 2019 – CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS
After battling Rutgers to a 10-10 draw in the fi rst half, Illinois outscored the Scarlet Knights 28-0 in the second half of a
38-10 win at Memorial Stadium. The Illini forced three turnovers and scored two defensive touchdowns to turn a tight
contest into their third straight win.
Illinois entered the game fourth in the nation and second in the Big Ten with three defensive touchdowns on the season.
Junior defensive back Nate Hobbs and senior linebacker Dele Harding added two of their own. Hobbs recovered a fumble
and returned it 36 yards to the end zone with 7:29 left in the third quarter. Harding’s 55-yard interception return in the
fourth quarter put the fi nishing touches on the victory.
Harding’s interception ended the third straight Rutgers possession with an Illinois takeaway. The Illini also used junior
wideout Josh Imatorbhebhe’s 52-yard touchdown catch to capitalize on another fumble recovery.
ILLINOIS 37, MICHIGAN STATE 34 – NOV. 9, 2019 – EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN
Brandon Peters threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Barker with fi ve seconds left, completing an incredible Illinois
comeback to give the Illini a 37-34 victory over Michigan State.
Illinois trailed 28-3 in the second quarter and 31-10 entering the fourth. Down 34-30 in the fi nal minutes, the Illini
converted a fourth-and-17, then drew a pass interference fl ag in the end zone on another fourth-down pass. It was
second-and-goal when Peters patiently rolled out to his right and found Barker open in the back of the end zone.
Illinois’ 25-point comeback was the biggest in program history and its 21-point fourth-quarter comeback tied the largest in
a Big Ten game in the last 40 seasons. The Fighting Illini entered the fourth quarter with a 0.4% win probability according
to ESPN, and their 27 fourth-quarter points were the most by an opponent in the 96-year, 544-game history of Michigan
State’s Spartan Stadium.
QB Brandon Peters threw for a career-high 369 yards and and three touchdowns, WR Josh Imatorbhebhe had four
catches for 178 yards and two scores, and S Sydney Brown returned an interception 76 yards for a touchdowning during
#19 IOWA 19, ILLINOIS 10 – NOV. 23, 2019 – IOWA CITY, IOWA
Iowa held Illinois to a season-low 10 points in a 19-10 victory at Kinnick Stadium. The Fighting Illini ended three secondhalf
drives in Iowa territory but only had three points to show for it.
Brandon Peters rushed for a season-high 76 yards, including a 37-yard run in the fi rst quarter. Senior running back Dre
Brown added 67 yards on 14 carries as the Illini ran for 192 yards on the afternoon.
Illinois entered the game leading the nation in turnover margin at +14. That changed in Iowa City, as the Illini turned the
ball over three times and took it away just once, with Sydney Brown’s interception the lone takeaway. However, Iowa
only came away with three points off those turnovers.
NORTHWESTERN 29, ILLINOIS 10 – NOV. 30, 2019 – CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS
Northwestern spoiled Illinois’ Senior Day with a 29-10 win at Memorial Stadium. The Illini gained a 7-3 lead in the second
quarter, but the Wildcats outscored the home team 26-3 the rest of the way.
Junior cornerback Nate Hobbs picked off an Andrew Marty pass in the second quarter and returned it 29 yards to set up
Illinois’ lone touchdown of the day. A 29-yard pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Robinson to senior receiver
Caleb Reams set the scene for Dre Brown’s six-yard touchdown run to give the Illini the lead.
Dele Harding made a game-high 15 tackles, including 1.0 TFL, to bring his season total to 147 tackles. That ties him for
10th in a single season in Illinois history and gives him the second-most tackles in a season in the last 25 years behind
J Leman’s 2006 total of 152.