CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- In what has become predictable Lovie Smith Monday behavior, the Illini head coach had no update on the injury status of his quarterback.
Brandon Peters, who has started 10 of the 11 games this season but was knocked out last last weekend during the 19-10 loss at No. 19 Iowa, was not made available to the media either after the loss in Iowa City, Iowa Saturday or Monday and his status is in doubt for the rivalry weekend vs. Northwestern this coming weekend (11 a.m., FS1).
“He didn’t finish the game, which hurt our ball club” Smith said Monday. “And we’ll see how it goes as we go along throughout the week.”
On a third-and-nine play near the end of the game, Peters rolled to his right and attempted a pass that went incomplete. After the pass exited his hand, Stone launched his shoulder above the neck area of Peters’ body with most of the impact ending up in Peters’ face. The result of the play was no personal foul penalty to Stone, either for targeting or a late hit on the quarterback and Illinois training staff immediately leading the signal-caller into the locker room. These two facts were the most disturbing to Smith as he looks for justice on a hit that he felt was illegal in more than one way.
When given a chance to see the replay of the hit and an opportunity to send that film to the Big Ten Conference office in Chicago, Smith still took another chance to express his displeasure with the fact the play ended in a non-call situation.
“I was hoping I could get through the press conference without going there,” Smith said. “If that’s not targeting then what is. Our quarterback was knocked out of the game. A penalty should’ve been called. It’s just kind of as simple as that.”
Due to the Thanksgiving holiday being this week, the Illini practice schedule has been moved up a day. Therefore, Illinois conducted a practice Monday morning that was closed to the public and media.
Peters, a graduate transfer from Michigan, is fifth in the Big Ten Conference with 17 touchdown passes and has a touchdown pass in all but one game he’s finished (the 24-6 win at Purdue) this season. Peters ended the game at Iowa 16 of 31 for 125 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions.
Saturday represented the second game the Michigan transfer has been unable to finish a contest. Peters left the 40-17 loss at Minnesota on Oct. 5 with what was later classified as concussion symptoms. Following the injury at Minnesota Peters was forced to miss the following home game against Michigan. Peters also suffered a concussion in the 2017 season while at Michigan.