Unbeaten Big Ten powerhouse Wisconsin, ranked sixth, were defeated by unranked Illinois at Memorial Stadium in Champaign on Saturday thanks to a last-second field goal from Irish-born kicker James McCourt.
It prompted wild celebrations as the win marked Illinois's first victory over a top ten team since 2007.
DOWN GOES NO. 6 WISCONSIN!
The first time the Badgers trail all year comes at the hands of @IlliniFootball.
James McCourt wins it: pic.twitter.com/r4WwNMWe0h
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 19, 2019
— Alex Aguilera (@alex13aguilera) October 19, 2019
As “Jump Around” plays on the Memorial Stadium sound system. What a moment. pic.twitter.com/rXWGiiP0tD
— Gavin Good (@itsallG_O_O_D) October 19, 2019
James McCourt was born in Dublin and lived there until he was eight years old. He then moved to Florida. He was recently asked about his feelings for Ireland when it was announced Illinois would play Nebraska in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, to start the 2021 season.
"Ireland means so much to me,” McCourt told 247Sports. “It’s near and dear to my heart. Dublin is where I grew up. I have a lot of friends still there. I’m very close with my family back there. I pride myself in my Irish heritage and my Irish culture. It means a lot to me, and it means a lot to my family in general."
However, with McCourt set to graduate in 2020, he will not feature in that game if he is to progress and live the NFL dream.
Speaking to the media after his winning score, the kicker cut a content figure.
"I've dreamt of this. It is something I have always wanted. I knew this opportunity would come eventually. For it to be against a nationally ranked programme just adds to it."