Football Writers Association of America Oct. 21, 2019
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Gangi
Fighting Illini rallies to stun Wisconsin
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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 selected.

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 didn’t 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 at

2019 Reveal Suits National Teams of the Week
• Weekend of Aug. 31: Georgia State Panthers
• Weekend of Sept. 7: LSU Tigers
• Weekend of Sept. 14: Kansas Jayhawks
• Weekend of Sept. 21: San José State Spartans
• Weekend of Sept. 28: Ohio State Buckeyes
• Weekend of Oct. 5: SMU Mustangs
• Weekend of Oct. 12: South Carolina Gamecocks
• Weekend of Oct. 19: Illinois Fighting Illini
• Weekend of Oct. 26: Kansas State Wildcats
• Weekend of Nov. 2: Memphis Tigers
• Weekend of Nov. 9: Minnesota Golden Gophers
• Weekend of Nov. 16: Oklahoma Sooners
• Weekend of Nov. 23: FIU Panthers
• Weekend of Nov. 30: Virginia Cavaliers