STATEMENT WIN: Illinois upsets No. 6 Wisconsin 24-23

Local News

James McCourt kicks 39-yard game winning field goal, snapping 24-game losing streak against ranked opponents

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Not many gave Illinois football a chance against No. 6 Wisconsin and it made sense. The Illini entered Saturday losers of 24-straight games against ranked teams, dating back to 2011. Illinois hadn’t beat a Top 10 team since 2007 and came in as 31-point underdogs to Wisconsin. So the celebration was fitting after James McCourt hit a 39-yard field goal to upset the Badgers, the fans rushed the field and the party was on.

“Honestly, I think going through my head was some oxygen because I was passed out at the bottom of the pile, supposedly,” McCourt said. “Jake Cerny saw my eyes roll back in my head. So I got lifted up and I really thought I woke up from a dream or something, it was unbelievable seeing everyone around. Can’t even describe it.”

“This is our signature win,” Illinois head coach Lovie Smith said. “We’ve needed a signature win. Again, it’s the No. 6 team in the country and we played them toe-to-toe and we saw so much fight. We learned an awful lot about ourselves so we’re pumped up. One of the best wins you could possibly have at this stage of our program.”

“My mindset was holy hell,” Illinois junior guard Alex These are the situations that movies are made out of. Last second field goal to win the game against the #6 team in the country. That’s the stuff I was told as a recruit that we would do that and we just did that.”

“It’s amazing. It’s amazing because we deserve it. Like Reggie told us at halftime, this is our stadium. We put the work in. We was out here running them bleachers while everybody else in the campus was partying we was in here Friday nights working. We deserve it.”

Illinois snaps a four game losing streak and improves to 3-4 on the season and 1-3 in the Big Ten.

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