Live updates and analysis: Iowa football team takes on Illinois at Memorial Stadium

The No. 19 Hawkeyes are going for their fifth win in a row.


Katie Goodale for The Daily Iowa

Players and coaches stand on the field before the Iowa v. Illinois football game at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. Kick-off is set for 2:30 p.m. (Katie Goodale/The Daily Iowan)

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The No. 19 Iowa football team competes against Illinois on Saturday looking for its fifth win in a row after starting the season 0-2.

The Hawkeyes have defeated the Fighting Illini six meetings in a row. Last season, Iowa won the matchup 19-10 at Kinnick Stadium.

DI Pregame Editor Robert Read is at Memorial Stadium covering the game. Follow along here for live updates and analysis.

Pregame — In warmups, Jack Plumb was the first team right tackle for the Hawkeyes. Coy Cronk and Mark Kallenberger, who have both started games this season, were also dressed. The pregame show on the Hawkeye Radio Network said Cronk is available to play, and described Kallenberger as “iffy.”

Seth Benson was out as Iowa’s first team middle linebacker. Benson and Jack Campbell are likely to split reps at the position again this week.

Pregame — Iowa wins the toss and elects to receive. The Hawkeyes will have the ball to start the game. It is 44 degrees with a five mph wind at Memorial Stadium at kickoff.

13:00 1Q — Rough first drive for Iowa. Tyler Goodson runs for three on first down, but Spencer Petras is sacked off of play action on second down. Then, the Hawkeyes didn’t have enough players on the field ahead of their third down play and had to call a timeout. On third down, Ihmir Smith-Marsette got the ball on a screen pass, but was tackled five yards short of the marker, forcing a Tory Taylor punt.

8:10 1Q — Great first drive for Illinois. The Illini went 70 yards in nine plays, all the way into the end zone. Illinois quarterback Brandon Peters went 3-for-3 for 45 yards and a 24-yard touchdown on the opening drive. Peters also ran twice for 13 yards.

Illinois leads 7-0 midway through the first quarter.

4:49 1Q — The Hawkeye defense got a big stop. The Illini had the ball near midfield to start their second drive after another Iowa three and out. But Iowa forced a three and out of its own. On third and five, Illinois tried to covert on a screen pass, but defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon stuffed the play in the backfield to force a punt.

Nixon is up to 12.5 tackles for loss now on the season, which leads the Big Ten.

End 1Q — Illinois leads Iowa 7-0 after 15 minutes of play. The Illini outgained the Hawkeyes 107-28 in the first quarter.

Petras is 1-of-3 for nine yards and was sacked once. Peters is 5-of-5 for 54 yards and a touchdown, as well as 13 yards on the ground.

Illinois has the ball at Iowa’s 41 to start the second quarter.

13:30 1Q — After a short review, officials determined that Illinois receiver Daniel Imatorbhebhe got a foot down in the end zone to cap an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive to put the Illini on the board again.

The Hawkeyes now trail 14-0. Peters is now 7-for-7 for 91 yards and two touchdowns on the day.

6:18 2Q — Iowa is on the board. One play after the Hawkeyes kept their offense on the field on fourth down and three, they got into the end zone. On fourth and three, Petras connected with Smith-Marsette over the middle to the Illinois 22-yard line.

The next play, Petras found tight end Sam LaPorta up the seam for the score. It’s the first touchdown of LaPorta’s Iowa career.

The previous defensive drive, Iowa defensive end Zach VanValkenburg tackled the Illinois ball carrier for a seven yard loss on first down. The Fighting Illini then had to punt and the Hawkeyes had their best field position of the day at their 48 to start the eight-play, 52-yard scoring drive.

Illinois leads 14-7.

2:54 2Q — The Hawkeyes took advantage of good field position for the second drive in a row. Iowa started at its 46 yard line and quickly moved into Illinois territory.

The Illini defense forced a stop, however, and the Hawkeyes settled on a 40-yard Keith Duncan field goal. Petras took a shot into the end zone two plays before the kick. The pass fell incomplete, but Smith-Marsette did have separation in the end zone.

Halftime — Halftime reactions: Iowa trails Illinois 14-13 at the break 

8:24 3Q — Iowa has its first lead of the day. After trailing 14-0 at one point, the Hawkeyes are now up 21-14 midway through the third quarter. Illinois punted on its first possession of the half. Iowa responded by going 70 yards in nine plays, culminating in a score.

Smith-Marsette went in motion across the formation on first down from Illinois’ four-yard line. Petras took the snap and passed it quick to Smith-Marsette, who outran his defender into the end zone. Petras then connected with Goodson on the two-point conversion to go up by seven.

12:20 4Q — The Hawkeye defense forced another Illini punt, and Iowa’s offense took advantage. Iowa punt returner Charlie Jones fielded the punt at midfield and ran it back 18 yards to the 32. Two plays later, Petras connected with tight end Sean Beyer in the end zone on a 16-yard touchdown pass.

The score is the first of Beyer’s career. This is Petras’ first multi-touchdown game, and he has three on the day. Iowa leads 28-14.

FINAL —  Iowa wins, 35-21.

Hawkeyes overcome early deficit, defeat Illini for fifth consecutive victory

This story will be updated as the game goes on. Check back for updates.