WCIA — Illini Nation was introduced to back-up quarterback John Paddock in a big way, as the walk-on transfer entered the game cold to lead Illinois 85 yards in 35 seconds and beat Minnesota 27-26.
The former Ball State QB had to enter the game after Luke Altmyer was injured on a third down sack. Paddock had seen action in three other games earlier this season, going 12-23 through the air with a lone touchdown. All he needed was three plays against the Golden Gophers to go down in the Illini history books.
“Earlier this year when he got into a game, it was kind of out of control and not a great situation to come into. I said, ‘Hey what we learned is when your moment comes you’re going to be that much more prepared,'” head coach Bret Bielema said. “‘I don’t know if it’s going to be this week, next week or the last half of the season. You moment’s going to come.'”
“It can always happen in a moment’s notice, you never know when it’s going to hit,” Paddock said. “Obviously Luke took a big one there at the end, Art called me over so I knew it might be my time to go. Was just a product of the offense on that last drive, got great players around me, great offensive linemen in front of me.”
Paddock has Orange and Blue roots, his great-grandfather, grandfather, and uncle all lettered playing football at Illinois.