CHAMPAIGN – When it came to choosing a signal caller to start his first season at Illinois, Bret Bielema decided to go with the veteran.
After all, Brandon Peters has seen quite a bit during over half-decade in the Big Ten conference.
Returning for his third season with Illinois and his sixth in college football, the quarterback was named the starter to begin the Illini’s season. They’ll open it up with a “Week 0” game at home against Nebraska at Memorial Stadium on Saturday at Noon in Champaign.
“If you truly sit down and watch him, he has a special arm,” said Bielema of Peters. “He has all of the tools, it just comes down to if he can make the right throws at the right times.”
Peters has been the primary starter for Illinois the last two seasons, starting 11 games in 2019 then five in the shortened 2020 campaign. He would have likely started all of the Illini’s games, but he was out for three games due to the Big Ten’s COVID-19 protocols.
In those contests last season, Peters was 39-80 for 429 yards with three touchdowns without an interception. He also rushed for 136 yards with a 5.7 per carry average along with a score in 2020.
During Illinois’ 2019 bowl season, Peters completed 55 percent of his passes for 1,884 yards with 18 touchdowns compared to eight interceptions. That season, the Illini qualified for their first postseason game in five years thanks to a four-game midseason win streak that brought their record to 6-6.
Peters had had quite a journey since he was a standout at Avon High School in Indiana, spending his first three seasons at Michigan. After a redshirt 2016 season, the quarterback started four games in 2017 including the Outback Bowl for the Wolverines. But he only saw the field in four games and didn’t make a start in 2018 and transferred to Illinois that offseason.