CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois starting quarterback Brandon Peters was announced as inactive Saturday morning shortly before kickoff of the team’s home opener against Purdue Saturday due to a positive COVID-19 test on Thursday.
According to Illinois athletics spokesperson Kent Brown Illini backup quarterback Isaiah Washington also was lifted from the game due to “contact tracing protocols”.
“Illinois senior quarterback Brandon Peters and redshirt freshman tight end Griffin Moore were both sidelined for 21 days following positive test results Thursday for the COVID-19 virus,” Brown said. “Per Big Ten Conference protocol, following recovery both players will be eligible to return for the Nov. 21 game at Nebraska.”
The announcement was made about an hour before kickoff. Illinois announced the following players were also out of this weekend’s game vs. Purdue but the reasoning for all of them were not specified.
- DB Christian Bobak
- LB Shammond Cooper
- OL Brevyn Jones
- WR Kerby Joseph
- OL Doug Kramer (starting center)
- DB Michael Marchese
- K James McCourt (starting kicker)
- TE Griffin Moore (COVID-19)
- OL Moses Okpala
- DL Keith Randolph
- WR Trevon Sidney
- OL Jordyn Slaughter
- QB Isaiah Williams (projected backup QB)
Illinois lost 45-7 at Wisconsin on Oct. 23 and Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz tested positive the following day. At least 15 other additional Wisconsin players and coaches tested positive, result the cancellation of the Badgers’ game against Nebraska Saturday.
The news of positive tests for the Illini program came just a day after Illinois coach Lovie Smith said on Wednesday that there had been no COVID-19 positive tests on the team.
“Our team is clean,” Smith said at the time. “We’re kind of hunkered down in the bunker. We have a protocol in place that we follow daily. But right now for our football team, not much has changed.”
Matt Robinson, who started two games last season (losses to Michigan and Northwestern), got the start behind center Saturday for the Illini but suffered an early injury to his right foot and was forced to sit out following the game’s first drive.
Coran Taylor, who started the season and the week of preparation as the fourth-string quarterback, took over the quarterback duties. The Peoria native last saw significant playing time at Memorial Stadium was his junior year of high school. Taylor passed for 215 yards and two touchdowns along with running for 134 yards and three touchdowns in a 62-48 win for Peoria High School in the IHSA Class 5A state title game over Vernon Hills.