The Iowa Hawkeyes have made it through the month of November perfect with wins in their last four contests after starting the year with two losses. Those two losses are almost certainly going to cost Iowa their chance at the Big Ten Championship Game, but there is more left to play for in Iowa City.
This week, the Hawkeyes travel to Champaign to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini, who are fresh off what was effectively a bye. After a win over the same Nebraska team that gave Iowa some heartburn last week, Illinois had their matchup with Ohio State cancelled due to COVID-19. That cancellation now puts Ohio State’s shot at the Big Ten Championship in jeopardy, but could set up a showdown with the Hawkeyes in the event Iowa wins their final two regular season games (assuming OSU doesn’t qualify for the title game).
Illinois is looking to get back to .500 on the season while Iowa is looking to stay in the hunt for the title, however unlikely that may be at this point. Here’s a rundown of Iowa’s matchup with Illinois this weekend.
Date: Saturday, December 5th
Time: 2:30pm CT
Matchup: Iowa Hawkeyes (4-2) at Illinois Fighting Illini (2-3)
Location: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
TV: BTN OR FS1
Line: Iowa -12, O/U 52.5
Result: W, 35-21
As wild as it may sound to today’s Iowa fan, the Hawkeyes actually trail Illinois in the all-time series 38-35-2. Most of those 38 Fighting Illini wins, however, came quite some time ago. Iowa has won six in a row and 11 of the last 12 against Illinois. The Fighting Illini have won just two games against the Hawkeyes since the turn of the millennium.
A season ago, the Hawkeyes took home a 19-0 win over the Fighting Illini in a game that saw Iowa struggle to run the ball and find the endzone just once on a Tyler Goodson 2-yard run. Instead, it was Keith Duncan nailing four field goals in the winning effort. That was quite the contrast from a year prior when the Hawkeyes handed Illinois their largest defeat in the series at 63-0. Don’t expect that level of success in 2020, but Iowa will certainly look to get back to establishing the run game this week.