DALLAS (FWAA) The Illinois Fighting
Illini converted three takeaways into 17 points the last
a 39-yard field goal by James McCourt as time expired in a 24-23
homecoming win over No. 6 Wisconsin. For beating a ranked time for
the first time since 2011, Illinois earned the Reveal Suits National
Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Oct. 19.
The announcement came on "Playbook" on ESPNU Radio on SiriusXM.
Each Monday during the season the Reveal Suits National Team of
the Week will be unveiled during the program, which airs weekdays
from 1-4 p.m. ET. The FWAA's All-America Committee selects the weekly
winner and all Division I FBS and FCS schools are eligible to be
This is the second time for Illinois to win the FWAA's National
Team of the Week honor and the first time since 2007, which is the
last time the Illini beat a top-10 team when they ended Ohio State's
28-game regular-season win streak and 20 straight Big Ten wins with
a 28-21 win in Columbus.
McCourt's kick capped a nine-play final drive that started with
cornerback Tony Adams' interception with 2:32 left in regulation.
Linebacker Jake Hansen forced two Wisconsin fumbles that Illinois
recovered, and both led to touchdowns. Illinois (3-4) is now plus-seven
in turnover margin on the season.
The Illini's 24 points nearly doubled (29) the number of points
Wisconsin had given up this season coming into the game and the
win marked the highest-ranked team Illinois has defeated since 2007;
it also snapped a 24-game losing streak to AP-ranked teams. Illinois
became the first team to score a touchdown in the first half against
Wisconsin this season when Donny Navarro hauled in Brandon Peters'
48-yard pass, and the Illini are the first team to lead the Badgers,
though it didnt come until the gun.
"In my time at Illinois, this is our signature win," head coach
Lovie Smith said. "We have needed a signature win, against the number
6 team in the country, we played them toe to toe. We saw so much
fight and we learned a lot about our guys. One of the best wins
you could possibly have."
There were no other National Team of the Week nominees for the
weekend of Oct. 19.
The Football Writers Association of America has named a national
team of the week since the 2002 season. In addition to the members
of the FWAA All-America Committee, one fan vote from Twitter decides
the weekly honor.
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Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football.
The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key
executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas
that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team.
For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson