Illinois 55, Minnesota 31
What Happened: Illinois got the offense rolling early on and didn’t stop, starting with two 72-yard touchdown runs in the first quarter – one from Reggie Corbin and one from Dre Brown.
The big plays kept on coming with Ricky Smalling taking a pass 67 yards for a score, and with Corbin ripping off a 77-yard scoring dash on the way to a 48-17 lead. Minnesota had some big plays of its own, but they weren’t nearly enough, closing out the scoring with an 86-yard pass play to Rashod Bateman in the final minutes.
What Mattered: The Illinois offense went crazy, rushing for 430 yards with Corbin running for 213 yards and two scores, QB AJ Bush running for 127 yards and two touchdowns – along with hitting 18-of-26 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns – and Brown added 97.
– Minnesota got the offense going, but couldn’t tackle and was always two steps behind. Offensively, the biggest run was just 13 yards, with Mohamed Ibrahim running 18 times for 98 yards and two scores.
– The Illini finished with 646 yards of total offense to offset the three turnovers and seven penalties. The backs were running at will – they were always in space.
What It All Means: It might seem insane, but is Illinois in a bowl hunt now? At 4-5, it gets a trip to Nebraska next, followed up by a date against Iowa and a trip to Northwestern. The Illini have to win two of their last three, but at the very least, after this, it’s in the discussion.
– This was awful for the Gophers. Now they’ve lost five of their last six games with Purdue, Northwestern and at Wisconsin to close, and needing to win two of the three to go bowling. That’s not happening.
NEXT: Purdue 38, Iowa 36