Game replay: Iowa 35, Illinois 21
By simply taking care of business the past four weeks, the Iowa football team has suddenly sprung into top-20 position.
That's where the 4-2 Hawkeyes find themselves 19th in the latest College Football Playoff poll (and 24th, according to the USA TODAY Coaches' Poll) ahead of Saturday's 2:30 p.m. game against Illinois (2-3) in Champaign.
Iowa has won games impressively, against Michigan State and Minnesota. It's won against an opponent who has previously been a boogeyman in Penn State. And it's won in typical rivalry conditions against Nebraska.
What awaits the second-place team in the Big Ten West this weekend? Chad Leistikow and Mark Emmert are on-site at Memorial Stadium to cover the action. And Register sports editor Zack Creglow will be watching the Fox Sports 1 broadcast alongside you to add his thoughts.
Enjoy the game!
5 p.m.: Game over. Petras was really good for three quarters.
5:50 p.m. This game is over. Not officially, but it's over. Ihmir Smith-Marsette scored on a 13-yard rush with less than 2 minutes left to make it 35-14. Iowa just gashing Illinois up front. — Zack Creglow
5:38 p.m. The Illinois drive stalls out inside the 15. Iowa ball. — Zack Creglow
5:34 p.m. Illinois put in former top-50 recruit Isaiah Williams at quarterback and he's an entirely different type of athlete from regular starter Brandon Peters. The speedy Williams has the Ilini driving with about 8 minutes left, and Iowa leading 28-14. — Zack Creglow
5:19 p.m.: Second-half Spencer Petras > first-half Spencer Petras today. The Iowa quarterback has found the Hawkeye tight ends a lot today and the latest was a 17-year beaut for Shaun Beyer for a 17-yard score early in the fourth quarter. 28 unanswered now for Hawkeyes. 28-14 Iowa with about 12 minutes left. — Zack Creglow
5:08 p.m.: Brandon Smith is up to five catches for 58 yards, pushing him past 1,000 yards for his Iowa career. Hawkeyes holding a 21-14 lead but Illinois has the ball ... at its own 6 with 1:05 left in the third. Turnover time? --CL
4:51 p.m.: A crisp first drive of the second half nets the maximum eight points for Iowa. Goodson for 8, Goodson for 7, Goodson for 6, Smith-Marsette for 8 started the drive. Sargent for 8, LaPorta for 8 and Smith-Marsette on a 4-yard TD pass finishes it. Plus, Petras-to-Goodson for two points makes it 21-14 Hawkeyes, midway through the third quarter. --CL
4:13 p.m.: The Hawkeyes peck away with another Duncan field goal, from 27 yards out. Frankly, they should've had seven on that drive but had some poor clock management by using that last timeout too early. Petras finishes the first half 10-for-19, 142 yards and a TD. Iowa down 14-13, and Illinois gets the ball out of the locker room. --CL
3:55 p.m.: Keith Duncan's 40-yard field goal cuts Iowa's deficit to 14-10, with 2:54 left in the second quarter. Another case of good field position turning into points. Hawkeyes need to get to halftime with this margin or better. --CL
3:44 p.m.: Petras' most important throw of the day hits Ihmir Smith-Marsette for 11 yards on fourth-and-3, and he follows that up with a 22-yard TD pass to Sam LaPorta right through the middle of Illinois' defense. Hawkeyes desperately needed that fourth-down conversion; now they're back in it. Still 6:18 left in the second quarter. --CL
3:38 p.m.: Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras had been sacked only seven times this season entering the game, but the Illini have gotten him three times today. Looks to be a combination of ineffective blocking and Petras holding on to the ball too long. Illinois had just 11 sacks entering play. — ME
3:23 p.m.: Illinois goes 75 yards in eight plays through Iowa's defense, and Brandon Peters has been terrific for the Illini. Making tough throws into coverage and completing them, including for that 12-yard TD that beats Riley Moss. Illini 14-0, and Peters is 7-for-7 for 91 yards. --CL
3:18 p.m.: We begin the second stanza with Iowa trailing, 7-0. Backup defensive tackles Austin Schulte and Noah Shannon were dominated; Heflin and Nixon now back in. Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras needs to have a short leash if things don't improve soon for the offense. --CL
3:05 p.m.: Iowa's defense stands up, but the Hawkeyes will now start their third drive of the game with rough field position. Started at own 15, own 8 and now own 11. A vast departure from last week vs. Nebraska when Iowa consistently started at the 30+. Need to flip the field here, at least. Iowa trails, 7-0, with 4:49 left in the first quarter. --CL
2:52 p.m.: Illinois hadn't scored a point against Iowa here since 2014. But it did so on its opening drive today, moving 70 yards in nine plays with a terrific mixture of pass and run. Illini caught Hawkeyes in a blitz on third-and-9 from the 24 and Brandon Peters found tight end Daniel Barker in the seam for a touchdown. Illinois won the battle at the line of scrimmage on that drive. Hawkeye offense has produced two three-and-outs. This could be a big deficit quick if things don't turn around. — Mark Emmert
2:44 p.m.: You could've drawn up a worse start ... but not by much. Iowa doesn't even get past its own 20 on the opening drive, takes a sack, burns a timeout, punts. — CL
2:30 p.m.: Keeping an eye on Spencer Petras' completion percentage today. He is at 56.3% for the season, 12th out of 13 qualifying B1G quarterbacks. Illinois allows 71.4% completions to opponents, worst in the Big Ten. Petras needs to have a good day for Iowa to win; Lovie Smith will do everything he can to stack up the run. Kick time moved back to 2:40 p.m. — Chad Leistikow