Illini Report Card: vs. Iowa, Nov. 17, 2018

Player of the game

Iowa defensive lineman A.J. Epenesa.

The former News-Gazette All-Stater from Edwardsville set up the Hawkeyes romp by forcing a fumble, scooping it and scoring. He also blocked a punt that Iowa later converted into another score. He finished with eight tackles, including 3 1 / 2 for loss.

UI Football vs. Iowa 2018

Iowa beat Illinois 63-0 during an NCAA college football game at Memorial Stadium Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign.

Few answers after blowout loss

Illinois coach Lovie Smith breaks down Saturday's 63-0 loss to Iowa at Memorial Stadium.

Quick hits: Illini's bowl dreams dissolve after shutout loss to Iowa

What happened

Fumbles. Interceptions. Blocked punts. All of them leading to Iowa touchdowns either immediately or in short order. Add in an offense missing its most dynamic playmaker, and that's how you get a 63-point Illini loss.

LIVE! Iowa

Iowa 63, Illinois 0 — FINAL

Oof. Hard to see a loss like this one in a positive light.

Illinois and Iowa were actually playing a competitive game through the first quarter, with the Hawkeyes leading 7-0 after the first 15 minutes.

Who's got the edge? Illinois vs. Iowa

Beat writer Scott Richey breaks down Illinois and Iowa:

Illini entering must-win phase starting against the Hawkeyes

Do good

Today's game is doubling as "Good Works Day" at Memorial Stadium. Food drive donation areas for the Eastern Illinois Food Bank will be located on Kirby Avenue between First and Fourth streets and in Grange Grove, and the Salvation Army will also start its Red Kettle Campaign, ringing bells at multiple stadium entrances.

So long, seniors

Top of the Morning, Nov. 17, 2018

Like every other Junior Reporter we've sent to Memorial Stadium to cover Illinois football, AUSTIN BROWN's name was randomly selected.

What's different is no one knows who put his name in the hopper in the first place.

The fifth-grader from Danville was anonymously nominated — for us, that's a first — and to this day, he doesn't have a clue who did it.

Weekly staff picks: vs. Iowa, Nov. 17, 2018

The News-Gazette sports staff will take a crack at predicting the winner of the Illinois game each week. Don't agree with them? Let them know by email at

Bob Asmussen | Football beat writer

Game day Q&A: 'I've been enjoying it'

Each week during the season, Nick Allegretti comes to the Illinois postgame press conference and thoughtfully answers questions. The friendly senior offensive guard is one of the most respected Illini in recent years. With his accounting degree in hand, the Lincoln-Way East product wants to take a shot at the NFL.