Peters takes over Illini offense as QB 1 against Rutgers

Local Sports

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Brandon Peters played just five snaps at No. 7 Penn State but the Illinois super-senior quarterback made his short stint on the field plenty memorable last Saturday. Peters replaced Art Sitkowski, who left the game against the Nittany Lions in the fourth overtime with a broken arm. The super-senior quarterback went 2-for-3 on 2-point conversions, throwing a short pass to Isaiah Williams in the eighth extra session, before tossing the game winning pass to Casey Washington in the ninth overtime to seal the 20-18 upset victory for the Illini. It’s the first road win over a ranked opponent since 2007 when Illinois took down No. 1 ranked Ohio State in Columbus.

Now the focus shifts to Rutgers, where Peters is expected to be the starter. Sitkowski will miss the rest of the season with a broken arm, he will also need shoulder surgery, head coach Bret Bielema announced Monday. Walk-on Ryan Johnson is now the backup quarterback, a Division II transfer from Northern Michigan, who joined the team this summer. Peters wasn’t cleared until mid-to-late last week leading up to the Penn State game, still trying to return from an undisclosed injury in the Wisconsin game. He didn’t practice in the bye week after the 24-0 loss to the Badgers. Now all the focus is on him against the Scarlet Knights, who have lost four straight games after starting the season 3-0.

“He bring too like a different little swagger than Art but a great arm, leadership, he bring a lot of things,” Illinois redshirt freshman wide receiver Isaiah Williams said about Peters.

“You know the same thing we talk about with all the quarterbacks is make great decisions with the football and we’ve just got to do a better job at the quarterback and skill positions of making more plays,” Illinois offensive coordinator Tony Petersen said about what he wants to see from Peters. “We had some really good opportunities in that game and we could have thrown the ball better at times but we also could have caught the ball better.”

Illinois and Rutgers kickoff at 11 a.m. Saturday morning from Memorial Stadium in a game that will be broadcast on Big Ten Network.

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