Quarterback Peters to return for 3rd season at Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois quarterback Brandon Peters will return for a third season with the Illini and play for new coach Bret Bielema, the team announced Tuesday.

Peters spent three years at Michigan before joining Illinois in 2019 and made a big impact that season, throwing for 1,884 yards and 18 touchdowns while running for 213 yards and three scores. The Illini stunned then-No. 6 Wisconsin on the way to a 6-7 record and their first bowl appearance since 2014.

But they took a step back this season, going 2-6.

Peters missed three games as a senior because of a positive COVID-19 test. He made five starts, throwing for 429 yards and three touchdowns and running for 136 yards and a score.

The Illini fired Lovie Smith with one game remaining in their ninth consecutive losing season and his fifth year coaching them. Bielema, who led Wisconsin to three Rose Bowls before a disappointing run at Arkansas, was hired on Dec. 19.

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