CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois football coach Bret Bielema told Sirius XM Big Ten Radio quarterback Luke Altmyer has been cleared to play during an interview Wednesday morning. Altmyer missed last Saturday’s 48-45 win over Indiana with an undisclosed injury, after going down on the final Illini offensive drive at Minnesota earlier this month.
John Paddock stepped into the game against the Gophers and led the team on a game-winning 85-yard drive in less than 90 seconds. The Ball State transfer followed it up by throwing for 507 yards against the Hoosiers, a new Memorial Stadium record and the second-most passing yards in a game in program history.
According to Schick, Bielema said that Altmyer will start at Iowa on Saturday, but in a follow-up tweet, Schick went into more detail on Bielema’s quote.
“As of yesterday, Luke has been totally cleared to play,” Bielema told Matt Schick. “Because of that, he is our starting quarterback before he left and that’s where I sort of see it now…. if there’s any part of that that gets gray we have a guy that has proven he can play…”
Earlier this week, Bielema explained how he would approach having the week with Altmyer and Paddock.
“I’ve never been a coach that has ever put a player in a position that they’ve lost by injury, kind of went through that my first year,” Bielema said on Monday. “Obviously John has played exceptionally well from the time he entered the game two weeks ago against Minnesota to the way he played last week but I think our guys will know the plan very clear Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and we’ll make a decision as it gets closer but the good news is we got two guys who we feel like can play.”
Illinois visits Iowa Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on FS1, the Hawkeyes are 3.5-point favorites.