It was another week with some less than stellar moments from the Iowa Hawkeyes, but the result was another win. Iowa struggled at times on both sides of the ball against the Gophers and nearly let some mind-boggling end of game decisions cost them, but ultimately came away with a 27-22 win over Minnesota to move to 8-2 on the season.
After extending their winning streak over the Gophers to 7 in a row, the Hawkeyes now set their sights on the Illinois Fighting Beilemas, who Iowa currently owns a 7-game winning streak over entering the game.
The Illini enter this week’s matchup fresh off a a bye after also beating Minnesota in their last game action. Illinois took down the Gophers 14-6 in Minneapolis. That made back-to-back road wins for the Illini, who took down Penn State in Happy Valley two weeks earlier. Those road wins sandwiched a home loss to 5-5 Rutgers.
Sitting at 3-4 in the Big Ten, this weekend’s matchup holds no real meaning for Illinois in terms of conference finish. However, the Illini are two wins away from bowl eligibility with two games remaining. For the Hawkeyes, a slim path to Indianapolis remains open if they can find a way to win out and Wisconsin drops a game to either Nebraska or Minnesota.
Here’s a quick look at the details of this weekend’s matchup.
Date: Saturday, November 20th
Time: 1:00pm CT
Matchup: Illinois Fighting Illini (4-6, 3-4) at #18 Iowa Hawkeyes (8-2, 5-2)
Location: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
Preliminary Weather Forecast: cloudy with temps in the upper-40s, 10% chance of rain with winds gusting up to 20 mph
DraftKings Opening Line: Iowa -12, O/U 38.5*
As noted, Iowa comes into this one riding a 7-game winning streak over the Illinois Fighting Illini. Despite the recent success, Iowa trails Illinois in the all-time series 36-38-2.
This border rivalry is one of Iowa’s longest, dating back to 1899. That first matchup was actually played in Rock Island, Illinois (neutral sites for rivalry games seems like potentially cool idea) and the Hawkeyes won 58-0. It’s worth taking a moment to appreciate what it took for Iowa to score 58 points in 1899.
As fun as that might be to think through, it’s equally not fun to think about the absurdity that was Illinois winning the matchup 80-0 just three years later. That’s the largest margin of victory in the series history with the next closest coming in Iowa’s 63-0 win in Champaign back in 2018.
The current 7-game winning streak for the Hawkeyes is the longest for Iowa in the series. Illinois holds the longest winning streak in series history at 12 games spanning from 1942 to 1967.
As with Minnesota, the Illinois Fighting Illini have not won in Iowa City since 1999 under head coach Ron Turner. Illinois has gone through five coaches since that time. Iowa’s current winning streak has come against four of those with wins over Tim Beckman in 2014, Bill Cubit in 2015, Lovie Smith in 2016-2019 and Rod Smith in 2020.
The Hawkeyes now look to extend their streak to eight games and five coaches as they face Bret Bielema for the first time in Illini colors. The former Hawkeye holds a 3-2 record against Iowa from his time in Wisconsin. Kirk Ferentz and Bielema have not faced off since the dramatic 31-30 Wisconsin win in Kinnick Stadium in 2010.
Ferentz is 12-3 all-time against Illinois regardless of head coach.