CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Winners of three of their last four games, the Fighting Illini football team hits the road for a matchup with the Big Ten West-leading Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday. Illinois and Iowa are set to kick off at 2:30 p.m. CT on FS1.
Illinois’ (5-5, 3-4 Big Ten) last two games have featured incredible performances from backup QB John Paddock, the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. After starter Luke Altmyer left the game at Minnesota with 1:25 left in the fourth quarter, Paddock has gone 27-for-39 passing for 592 yards and five touchdown passes – including two game-winning touchdown passes – in Illinois’ wins against Minnesota and Indiana.
Iowa (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten), also winners of back-to-back games, has clinched at least a share of the Big Ten West title and can clinch a trip to Indianapolis by winning one of its remaining two games against Illinois (Nov. 18) or Nebraska (Nov. 24). The Hawkeyes defense has been one of the best in the nation, ranking third in the nation in scoring defense and in the top 10 in nearly every significant defensive category.
Adam Alexander and Devin Gardner have the nationally televised call on FS1. The Busey Bank Illini Sports Network has the radio call with Brian Barnhart, Martin O’Donnell, and Michael Martin.
Final Regular-Season Road Trip Up Next for Illinois
• Winners of three of their last four games, the Fighting Illini travel to Iowa looking to clinch bowl eligibility against the Hawkeyes, which have already clinched at least a share of the Big Ten West.
• Illinois head coach Bret Bielema will make his first trip to his alma mater, Iowa, as Illinois’ head coach. Bielema missed the 2021 game due to COVID protocols. Assistant head coach/wide receivers coach George McDonald filled in for Bielema in Iowa City.
• Bielema secured his seventh Big Ten road win in his first three seasons as Illinois’ head coach with the victory at Minnesota. His seven Big Ten road wins are tied for the third-most by a head coach in Illinois history through their first three seasons. Only John Mackovic (9, 1988-90) and Lou Tepper (8, 1992-94) won more Big Ten road games in their first three seasons at Illinois than Bielema.
• Bielema’s 12 Big Ten wins through his first three…