Detroit Free Press

Published 3:21 p.m. ET Oct. 19, 2019 | Updated 3:39 p.m. ET Oct. 19, 2019


Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh speaks to the media on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Ann Arbor.
Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press

Former Michigan football quarterback Brandon Peters helped lead Illinois to a stunning 24-23 win over No. 6-ranked Wisconsin on Saturday, throwing a wrench into next week’s showdown at No. 4 Ohio State. 

Peters, who transferred to Illinois in the offseason, completed just 9 of 21 passes for 174 yards, but his two touchdown throws, including a 29-yarder to Josh Imatorbhebhe with 5:53 to play in the fourth quarter, helped the Illini pull off the biggest upset of the college football season. 

The TD pass cut the deficit to 23-21. Tony Adams intercepted Wisconsin’s Jack Coan on the ensuing possession. Nine plays later, James McCourt kicked the game-winning 39-yard field goal.

Illinois was a 30.5-point underdog. 

[ How Jim Harbaugh’s first QB recruit at Michigan ended up on the other team ]

Peters, who didn’t play in last week’s loss to Michigan because of injury, was the first quarterback recruit signed by Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor. 

He appeared in six games as a sophomore, replacing John O’Korn as the starter before suffering an injury against Wisconsin. He returned later in the season, and after a blowout loss to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl, he faced still competition to remain the starter once Shea Patterson transferred to U-M from Ole Miss. 

Patterson eventually earned the starting job in 2018, and as Peters fell down the depth chart, even behind backup Dylan McCaffrey, he got his affairs in order and graduated early, allowing to transfer to Illinois and play immediately this season. 

It was Illinois’ first top-10 win since beating Ohio State in 2007. The Illini entered the game winless in the Big Ten, but did outplay Michigan in the second half of last week’s game in Champaign. 

Peters’ other touchdown pass Saturday was a 48-yarder to Donny Navarro in the second quarter. Illinois trailed 13-7 at halftime.

This story will be updated

Chris Thomas is the sports editor at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @bychristhomas.

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