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What happened

Nothing that hasn’t happened before for Illinois this season. The Illini probably made enough plays on the defensive side of the ball — forcing Iowa into field goal after field goal, Kerby Joseph hauling in an interception — but the offense didn’t provide the complement. A series of ineffective three-and-outs following a strong start ground Illinois to a halt and allowed Iowa to fend off a potential upset attempt.

What it meansThe balance of power in the Illinois-Iowa “rivalry” continues to trend heavily in the Hawkeyes’ direction. The Illini haven’t won at Kinnick Stadium since the 1999 season, meaning only a handful of players on the roster were even born. That means something not just on the field, but on the recruiting trail. Illinois coach Bret Bielema has made in-state recruiting a priority, but Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz regularly raids the state.

What’s nextAn opportunity to snap a six-game losing streak to Northwestern and reclaim the Land of Lincoln Trophy. Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats have owned Illinois of late, and another Northwestern victory would match the longest winning streak of the series (Illinois won seven times from 1913-28 and again from 1979-85). That the Wildcats have struggled this year to a 3-8 record might be the opening the Illini need.

What was said“It was kind of hectic in a way — especially when you find out your head coach isn’t going to be there. It’s just different, right? He’s the guy that kind of solidifies everything and holds everything together. What I was most happy about was the way we were able to adapt and the way the leadership in the locker room kind of took over there. It wasn’t an easy situation.”

— Illinois running back Chase Brown

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

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