The Iowa football team gets Illinois for its 11th game of the season, and recent history has boded well for Kirk Ferentz’s Hawkeye squad.
Despite being the second closest school geographically speaking, the Iowa football team has only played 74 games against it’s Big Ten West foe Illinois, which is sixth-most in school history, right behind Indiana. And surprisingly enough, the Fighting Illini haven’t always been as terrible as recent history may suggest.
They own a 38-34-2 record over the Iowa football team in those 74 games.
Recent history has allowed that lead to diminish significantly in the Kirk Ferentz era though. Since taking over the Iowa Hawkeyes, Kirk Ferentz holds a 10-3 record over the Fighting Illini and a 3-0 record over current head coach Lovie Smith, which includes last year’s 63-0 demolition, the biggest margin of victory the Hawks have ever had over the Fighting Illini.
While Illinois is having a revelation of a season, having already qualified for a bowl this season, they have to head to Iowa City, where Kinnick hasn’t been too kind to them.
The Fighting Illini’s last win was back in 1999, the first season with Kirk Ferentz at the helm. Much like Minnesota last week, this Illinois team will be fighting the tides of recent history when they match up with the Hawks.
That being said, this isn’t your same-old Illinois team. Widely picked to finish at the bottom of the Big Ten West, the Illini are actually tied for 3rd with the Hawks with a 4-3 conference record, which means this might be the best matchup this series has seen since the Ron Zook era ended in 2011 with Illinois finishing with a 7-6 record in the season.
So we could potentially have ourselves a game on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium as the Iowa football team looks to extend their winning streak to six games versus their easterly neighbors.