Iowa Football

Fun Facts: Iowa-Illinois, the REO Speedwagon edition

December in Champaign. Wow.

Iowa tight end Noah Fant (87) celebrates after his 9-yard touchdown reception during the first quarter of the Hawkeyes'
Iowa tight end Noah Fant (87) celebrates after his 9-yard touchdown reception during the first quarter of the Hawkeyes' 63-0 win over Illinois at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill., on Nov. 17, 2018. (The Gazette)

Both teams’ most-recent games were wins over Nebraska.

1. Iowa is 1-1 in games played on Dec. 5. It beat Kansas on that date in 1891, and lost to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game on Dec. 5, 2015. Its last December regular-season game was a 17-6 win at Hawaii in 1984.

2. The Hawkeyes haven’t lost in Champaign since 2008. They haven’t lost to Illinois in Iowa City in the 21st century.

3. Illinois has had five 100-yard rushers in the last three games, and has two straight games with two 100-yard rushers for the first time since at least 1945.

4. Iowa won the last three games at Illinois by a combined score of 121-14.

5. Iowa’s Daviyon Nixon and Illinois’ Owen Carney are 1-2 in the Big Ten in quarterback sacks with 5 and 4.5, respectively. Nixon also leads the league in tackles for loss, with 12. No one else has more than nine.

6. Illinois intercepted at least three passes in both of its last two games.

7. The lllini are 7-5 when quarterback Brandon Peters starts and finishes a game.

8. Illinois started four different quarterbacks in its first four games.

9. Of teams that have played at least five games, Iowa is tied for second nationally in takeaways per game with 2.67, and Illinois is fourth with 2.60.

10. Iowa has 25 players from Illinois. The Illini have 20 players from Florida, seven from California, and two apiece from Australia and Canada. They have none from Iowa.

11. llinois has won just one of its last 26 games against ranked opponents. The win was a 24-23 stunner over No. 6 Wisconsin last year.

12. The Illini haven’t won a home game since Nov. 2, 2019.

13. Iowa’s all-time December record is 12-7-1. Illinois’ is 4-9.


14. The Hawkeyes and Illini have four passing touchdowns apiece. Indiana’s Michael Penix has 14.

15. Iowa is seeking its first five-game Big Ten winning streak since it won all eight of its league games in 2015 and its conference opener in 2016.

16. The Hawkeyes’ leader in yards per catch is a tight end. That’s Shaun Beyer, nine receptions for 121 yards, 13.4 yards per grab.

17. The game-time temperatures for the last three Iowa-Illinois games in Champaign were 30, 36 and 38 degrees.

18. When the two teams last played in Illinois, the Hawkeyes won 63-0 in 2018. Three future NFL players scored touchdowns for Iowa. They were tight ends Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson and defensive end A.J. Epenesa.

19. Illinois’ Howard Griffith held the FBS record for rushing touchdowns in a game (8) by himself for 30 years. Buffalo’s Jaret Patterson matched the mark last Saturday.

20. The virtual halftime performance will be by Illinois alum and REO Speedwagon frontman Kevin Cronin, and will include performances of four of REO’s most-popular songs. The band originated in an Illinois dormitory in 1966.

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