Illinois Fighting Illini QB Brandon Peters among 2 to test positive for coronavirus

Illinois on Saturday announced that senior starting quarterback Brandon Peters and redshirt freshman tight end Griffin Moore tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

Both Peters and Moore missed the Illini's 31-24 loss to Purdue on Saturday, along with "several other players" sidelined for contact tracing. Illinois released a list of 14 players out for the game, including Peters and Moore, because of injury or contact tracing.

Illinois sophomore Coran Taylor found himself at the helm on his team's second possession, following what appeared to be an ankle injury to last-minute starter _ and third-string QB _ Matt Robinson. Taylor, who had only a couple of reps with the team the past week, was 17 of 29 for 233 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted twice.

The school won't specify whether players are out for injury or contact tracing, but the list includes offensive lineman Doug Kramer, kicker James McCourt and backup quarterback Isaiah Williams. Peters and Moore will sit out 21 days, according to Big Ten policy, and will be eligible to return for the Nov. 21 game at Nebraska.

That timeline will cause both players to miss games against Purdue, Minnesota and Rutgers and return with only four games left on the schedule.

Illini backup quarterback Isaiah Washington also was lifted from the game due to "contact tracing protocols,'' university spokesman Kent Brown said.

``Did we play hard?'' asked Illinois coach Lovie Smith. ``Did we handle a tough situation? Yes, we did. We're not in a bubble. We live in the real world. I thought everyone stepped up and did a good job.''

"Illinois senior quarterback Brandon Peters and redshirt freshman tight end Griffin Moore were both sidelined for 21 days following positive test results Thursday for the COVID-19 virus,'' Brown said. "Per Big Ten Conference protocol, following recovery both players will be eligible to return for the Nov. 21 game at Nebraska.''

Peters threw for 1,884 yards and 18 touchdowns last season for Illinois and was 8-of-19 with 87 yards in the first game this season against Wisconsin.

While it isn't clear whether the positive tests are related, Wisconsin was the Illini opponent in the first week of the season and the Badgers are dealing with a COVID-19 breakout of their own. Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said on College GameDay on Saturday that Wisconsin has 22 total cases within the program.

That includes head coach Paul Chryst, starting quarterback Graham Mertz and backup quarterback Chase Wolf. The Badgers canceled the game against Nebraska this weekend, and Alvarez said the program will make a decision on Tuesday whether the team will be able to play the game against Purdue on Nov. 7.

Smith said on Wednesday that there had been no COVID-19 positive tests on the team.

"Our team is clean,'' Smith said at the time. "We're kind of hunkered down in the bunker. We have a protocol in place that we follow daily. But right now for our football team, not much has changed.''

Also, Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore did not play Saturday at Illinois. He also sat out last week's season opener against Iowa but was on the sideline.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.