Breaking: Altmyer Out, Paddock To Start At QB For Illini

By IlliniGuys Staff

November 11, 2023

(Cover photo courtesy Illinois Athletics)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois football coach Bret Bielema announced this morning that backup quarterback John Paddock will get his first start as an Illini today vs. Indiana, as regular starter Luke Altmyer failed to clear concussion protocol.

The sophomore passer was injured late in last week's game at Minnesota when he was leveled by a Gophers defender on a 3rd down pass play.  Paddock, a walk-on graduate transfer, entered the game and completed three consecutive passes - including a game-winning touchdown throw to Isaiah Williams - to give Illinois a dramatic victory in the final moments.

Bielema had said in his weekly Monday news conference that he expected Altmyer to "be involved" in the Indiana game, but announced his decision as per Big Ten rules this morning.

Paddock came to Illinois for his final season of competition after four years at Ball State and beat out redshirt freshman Donovan Leary for the #2 quarterback spot in the preseason.  He started all 12 games for the Cardinals last season, completing 60 percent of his passes and throwing 18 touchdowns against 14 interceptions.  His most extensive action with the Illini came in September's loss to Penn State, when he replaced an ineffective Altmyer and completed 10 of 17 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.

The Bloomfield, Michigan native is a 4th generation Illini.  His great-grandfather Robert C. Wright lettered for the Illini in 1935.  Grandfather John Wright Sr. was a two-time All-American who went on to play in the NFL, and uncle John Wright Jr. earned two letters in 1990 & 1991.

Kickoff at Memorial Stadium is 11:00am and the game can be seen on Big Ten Network.  Illinois is trying to snap a four-game losing streak to the Hoosiers.

 

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