Illinois gets defensive in 14-6 upset of No. 20 Minnesota
Chase Brown rushed for 150 yards, Brandon Peters passed for a touchdown and the Illinois defense recorded six sacks to lift the Fighting Illini to a 14-6 Big Ten Conference road upset of No. 20 Minnesota on Saturday at Minneapolis.
Illinois (4-6, 3-4 Big Ten) snapped the Golden Gophers’ four-game winning streak, earning their second road victory against a ranked foe in the past three weeks.
Minnesota (6-3, 4-2), which entered play as the leader in the Big Ten West, sputtered to a 4-for-13 effort on third down. The home crowd booed the Golden Gophers in the fourth quarter as opportunities continued to slip away.
Hels scoreless for three quarters, Tanner Morgan scored on a 1-yard run with 4:49 remaining to draw Minnesota to within the final margin. Matthew Trickett, who missed a 45-yard field goal attempt earlier in the game, pulled the extra point wide left.
With his team trailing 14-0 with 2:39 left in the third quarter, Golden Gophers coach P.J. Fleck elected to go for it on 4th-and-6 from the Illinois 22. Owen Carney Jr. thwarted the play with a sack of Morgan. Minnesota turned the ball over on downs twice inside Illinois’ 30-yard line.
Minnesota’s top receiver, Chris Autman-Bell, left the game with an apparent head injury earlier in the third quarter after falling hard to the turf as he leapt for a deep pass that went incomplete.
While its defense shined with consistent pressure, the Illinois offense did just enough while being outgained 289-265.
Tarique Barnes intercepted Morgan on Minnesota’s first possession of the game, setting up a short field for Illinois, which capitalized with a 2-yard scoring run from Isaiah Williams with 8:15 to play in the first quarter.
Illinois visited the end zone on its next possession, as well, as Peters capped an 11-play, 86-yard drive with a 15-yard TD pass to Tip Reiman on the first play of the second quarter.
Stout against the run for much of the season, the Golden Gophers allowed 185 yards on the ground, more than twice their average entering the game. Brown averaged 4.5 yards on 33 carries. Peters was 7-of-9 passing for 80 yards.
Ky Thomas led Minnesota with 60 yards rushing on 16 carries. Morgan was 15 of 28 for 180 yards and two interceptions.
–Field Level Media