Let’s set the scene a little bit here. The date is Nov. 6, 2021. The Fighting Illini football team is in Minneapolis to face off against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who have just been ranked No. 20 in the first set of rankings from the College Football Playoff Committee.
In the previous two weeks, we’ve seen this Illini team beat No. 7 Penn State on the road, only to drop a home contest with Rutgers the very next week. After that disappointing loss, you’re watching this Minnesota game thinking—there’s no way this is the same team that just lost to Rutgers. And after a shocking 14-6 upset of the Gophers, you’re thinking to yourself, “Is Illinois the best team in the nation when visiting a ranked opponent?” “Is a bowl game still alive?” “Can the run game and defense take us there?”
SPOILER ALERT: no.
Let’s take a look back at some of TCR Staff Photographer Brad Repplinger’s best photos from that chilly November day in Minneapolis.