Jake Moody kicked a game-winning 35-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining as No. 3 Michigan stayed unbeaten and pulled off a narrow 19-17 victory over Illinois on Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Chase Brown’s 37-yard rushing touchdown with 1:37 left in the third quarter gave the Fighting Illini (7-4, 4-4 Big Ten) a 17-10 lead, but Moody made field goals of 41 and 33 yards in the fourth to pull the Wolverines (11-0, 8-0) within one.
Michigan’s defense prevented Illinois from manufacturing a first down on its second-to-last drive, and the Wolverines took over at their own 48. A defensive pass interference penalty put Michigan at the Illini 22, setting up Moody’s game-winner.
Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy completed 18 of 34 passes for 208 yards, and running back Blake Corum rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries despite being hampered by a second-quarter knee injury.
Brown finished with 140 yards and a pair of scores on 29 carries, while Tommy DeVito threw for 178 yards on 21-for-30 passing.
After the Illini went three-and-out to open the second half, the Wolverines drove to the Illinois 28 and extended their advantage to 10-3 thanks to Moody’s 46-yarder.
But the Fighting Illini leveled the score just 3:27 later when Brown wrapped up a nine-play, 67-yard drive with an 8-yard rushing score.
Caleb Griffin’s 29-yard field goal provided the Fighting Illini’s only points of the first half, pulling Illinois within 7-3 with 4:03 left to play before the break.
A 25-yard rush by Corum and a 22-yard completion to Ronnie Bell on Michigan’s ensuing possession helped the Wolverines drive down to the red zone, but Corum lost a fumble at the Illinois 13. Corum also sustained his injury on the play, exiting the game under his own power. He carried the ball just once following halftime.
Michigan wasted no time getting the offense going, driving 75 yards in seven plays on its first drive for a 7-0 lead. Corum capped the stand with a 2-yard rushing TD.
The Wolverines’ defense was suffocating through the first 15 minutes of action, holding Illinois to just 22 yards.
–Field Level Media