Under a new coach, with fans packed into the stands for the first time since 2019 and its backup quarterback at the helm, Illinois beat Nebraska 30-22 on Saturday to kick off the 2021 college football season.
The Big Ten conference win didn’t come without a price for the Illini.
Illinois starting quarterback Brandon Peters left the game holding his left (non-throwing) shoulder after being sacked hard near the end of the first quarter. He was 3-of-4 passing for 35 yards. He did not return and was replaced by Artur Sitkowski, a sophomore transfer from Rutgers.
Peters’ status wasn’t clear following Saturday’s game.
Sitkowski engineered several long-scoring drives using a balanced attack under Bielema’s new system, which he worked to perfection during a successful tenure at Wisconsin.
Sitkowski was 12 of 15 passing for 124 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.