iowa vs. Illinois – Game Recap – October 8, 2022

CHAMPAIGN, Illinois — — Backup, walk-on kicker Fabrizio Pinton scored a 36-yard field goal with 2:46 to go and Matthew Bailey made a late interception to lift Illinois to a 9-6 win over Iowa on Saturday night, his first over the Hawkeyes since 2008.

Illinois (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) is off to its best start since a 6-0 in 2011. The Illini also took victories over Iowa and Wisconsin for the first time since 1989 in the same season.

Iowa (3-3, 1-2) looked like it could escape Champaign with a dramatic win, but Riley Moss’ 82-yard fumble for a touchdown was quashed after review when officials determined the wrist of the back up Illinois quarterback Art Sitkowski before losing the ball.

Pinton came into action due to an injury to starter Caleb Griffin and went 3 of 3 on the night, including marks from 37 and 27 yards.

“(Take) a deep breath,” Pinton said. “Do your reps in the nets. I felt good. I just went out and (kicked).”

A field goal was again the difference for the Illini, who defeated Iowa in 2008 on Matt Eller’s 46-yard field goal with 24 seconds left.

Illini coach Bret Bielema said Pinton was informed “at kick-off” that he would score the field goals after Griffin, who was off day, told the staff he didn’t feel well enough to go.

Sitkowski went 13 of 19 for 74 yards and an interception after Illinois starter Tommy DeVito left the game in the first quarter with what appeared to be a left leg injury.

DeVito completed 6 of 11 passes for 42 yards before the injury.

Iowa struggled to move the ball when Spencer Petras completed 18 of 36 passes for 170 yards and an interception.

Petras took five sacks and the Hawkeyes ran just 52 yards.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz reflected on his struggling offense, coming in in the FBS in total offense last Saturday averaging 242.2 yards per game.

“I think some of that showed tonight, we’re having some issues up front,” Ferentz said. “We are young and inexperienced. Again, I thought we made progress in that regard last week. Not so much tonight.”

Kaleb Johnson, Leshon Williams and Petras collected first-down runs on an Iowa drive to start the fourth before an 8-yard tackle for loss by Tarique Barnes and Jer’Zhan “Johnny” Newton forced Iowa’s fourth straight run.

Williams finished with 32 yards on seven runs.

Sitkowski scored 10 completions for 16 yards before finally making contact with Brian Hightower for a 34-yard completion to move into Iowa territory early in the fourth. The Hawkeyes defense had yet to concede a win that size in five games.

However, Illinois didn’t make it any points as Sitkwoski was intercepted a few players later by Quinn Schulte on the 1-yard line.

Chase Brown scored over 100 yards and rushed for the Fighting Illini for the seventh time this season, more than any other running back in school history. He finished with 146 yards on 31 carries after entering the week leading the country in yards rushing.

“I knew Chase would grind it up a bit, wear them out and make some big plays,” Bielema said. “And that’s exactly how it turned out.”

Pinton capped a 17-play, 66-yard drive to open the score with a 27-yard field goal and he added a 37-yard field goal in the 8th minute of the second quarter.

Iowa kicker Drew Stevens equalized from 32 yards later in the quarter before Pinton pushed Illinois forward again.

A pair of Isaiah Williams fumbles set up Iowa in prime real estate once near the Illinois 9-yard line, but the Hawkeyes settled for a 27-yard field goal from Stevens to tie the game at 6 headed in half.

Five of the six rides in Iowa were lost in the second and third quarters.


Ferentz said he would not fire his son and offensive coordinator, Brian Ferentz, during the Hawkeyes’ farewell week after another dismal display.

“No, we won 10 games last year,” said Ferentz. ‘I don’t know if you know that. So I’m looking at that, and we’ve won a lot of games since 2015. We’re not doing well enough at the moment, that’s pretty clear.”

Iowa’s offense has been held at seven or fewer points in half of the games this season.


Bielema said he did not believe the Illini’s injuries were “catastrophic” and that DeVito “worsened” an ankle injury “again” in the first quarter. DeVito has completed 107 of 153 passes for 1,121 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions this season.


Illinois: No one outside the locker room saw the Illini as contenders for Big Ten West in August, but that’s where they are mid-season. Bret Bielema’s group could firmly take the lead in the division when Minnesota (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) visits next week.

Iowa: It’s time for the Hawkeyes to think seriously about their offensive identities. Despite many chances, the Hawkeyes completed 49% of their passes and averaged 1.7 yards per rush. That won’t fly, even with their great defense.


Iowa: The Hawkeyes get a farewell for a tough matchup at No. 3 Ohio State on October 22.

Illinois: host of Minnesota on Saturday.


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