Illinois 31 Michigan State 27: zero turnovers for the Illini

Ok, the stats might tell a different story: total offense: Michigan State 490, Illinois 304. Time of possession: 41:36 to 18:34, Michigan State’s favor. First downs: 28 to 14, Spartans.

But the Spartans had trouble finishing drives, kicking 4 field goals and turning it over on downs at the Illini 15. The Illini got touchdowns (and one field goal) and that was the difference.

The game started predictably enough. Illinois went 3 and out; Michigan State had a long drive for a field goal. 3 and out for the Illini again; long drive by MSU reaches the Illini 15 before 2 holding penalties and a sack push them out of field goal range; the MSU offensive line had trouble with the Illini pass rush all day.

Then it was mostly punts prior to a short field drive leading to a MSU field goal and a 6-0 lead with 2 minutes to go in the half; at this stage, Illinois has ZERO first downs.

But then momentum shifted for good: the Illini put together a 73 yard touchdown drive, mostly on passing but a nifty draw play for 19 yards finished the drive. So at the half, Illinois lead 7-6 though MSU had won from the scrimmage line for the first 28 minutes.


The second half saw MSU make another drive, for another field goal. It was now 9-7, but Illinois struck back with a drive of its own capped by a 64 yard touchdown run. The Illini was looking sharp; the line was blocking well. Then MSU fumbled on a running play; Illinois recovered but had to settle for a field goal. 17-9.

There was an exchange of punts, then Michigan State’s first touchdown drive of the afternoon; they hit a pass for 2 points to tie it at 17 going into the 4’th.

But by now, the Illini offense was clicking; a 70 yard touchdown drive followed. It was now 24-17.

Michigan State took 6 minutes off of the clock and got a field goal to cut it to 24-20. The MSU defense got a stop and then came the next to last Michigan State drive.

On 3’rd and 4 at the 13, the MSU quarterback hit the tight end right in the hands in the endzone..and he dropped it. But on 4’th down, a MSU receiver made a spectacular catch at the end of the endzone to put MSU up 27-24 with 2:52 to play. I thought that Illinois might lose.

But the Illini came right back, aided by a couple of pass interference calls (one was very obvious). A touchdown pass put the Illini up 31-27 with 1:35 to play.

But then MSU drove it down to the Illini 15, but turned it over on downs. That ended the game.

It was quite a beautiful fall day; I got in a 3 mile walk prior to it.

Now for a few of my photos:

Celebrating the win after the game:


Game action:


Cubs tribute at halftime:


Taking the field:


Fall colors on campus:



November 6, 2016 - Posted by | college football, football |

1 Comment »

  1. […] I’ve heard it said that Illinois regressed between 2015 and 2016. I am not so sure. Yes, Illinois went 5-7 in 2015 and 3-9 in 2016. BUT: 1) the 5-7 record was against a schedule that featured 8 Big Ten games; the 3-9 featured 9 Big Ten games. In 2015, the Illini went 2-6 (narrow win vs. Nebraska at home, easy win at Purdue); the 2016 version went 2-7, winning easily at Rutgers and narrowly at home vs. Michigan State. […]

    Pingback by What’s in store for Illinois Football this year? « blueollie | July 22, 2017 | Reply

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