Big 10 roundup: Michigan tops Illinois
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Never in 131 years have so many points been scored in a Michigan game. And rarely has a victory against Illinois meant so much to the Wolverines.
In the highest scoring game in the storied history of Michigan football, the Wolverines’ defense provided the winning play, stopping a two-point conversion attempt in the third overtime for a 67-65 victory Saturday.
Michael Shaw scored on a 1-yard run and Tate Forcier threw a 2-point conversion to Junior Hemingway to put Michigan up, 67-59. Mikel Leshoure ran for a touchdown to draw the Illini within two. On the conversion try, Michigan blitzed Nathan Scheelhaase, and he could only flip a desperation pass incomplete.
“The defense made a play — a fitting ending,” said Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, who for the first time in three years as Wolverines coach has a bowl-eligible team.
Michigan’s season will almost assuredly not end against rival Ohio State. For college football’s winningest team, that’s a big deal.
“I feel like a weight has been lifted off of our shoulders,” linebacker Craig Roh said.
Michigan (6-3, 2-3 Big Ten) snapped a three-game losing streak that was making this season feel a lot like the past two, when Rodriguez managed only three conference victories. That the win came a few days after Michigan found out the NCAA would not come down hard on the program for rules violations under Rodriguez made it even sweeter.
“It’s been a good week,” Rodriguez said with a grin.
In a game in which the offenses were all but unstoppable, the Fighting Illini (5-4, 3-3) didn’t go for it on fourth-and-1 from their 42 against one of the nation’s worst defenses. Forcier took advantage, capping an 80-yard drive with a 9-yard, game-tying pass to Darryl Stonum with 1:47 left in regulation.
The 132 points made it the highest-scoring game of the year in major college football and in the history of the Big Ten. The teams combined for 1,237 yards of offense — 676 for Michigan.
â¢ No. 15 Iowa 18, Indiana 13 — Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi was frustrated most of the game. Then, one play changed his whole perspective.
The Big Ten’s leader in passing efficiency hooked up with Marvin McNutt for a 52-yard TD pass with 2:50 left, rallying Iowa in Bloomington, Ind.
Iowa (7-2, 4-1) kept pace with the Big Ten’s other one-loss teams and may have saved its hopes for a Rose Bowl bid, but only barely.
Indiana (4-5, 0-5) moved to the Iowa 18 with 45 seconds left, but Hoosiers quarterback Ben Chappell threw three straight incompletions. Then, on fourth-and-10, Damarlo Belcher dropped Chappell’s pass in the end zone. Officials upheld the play on review.
â¢ No. 7 Wisconsin 34, Purdue 13 — In West Lafayette, Ind., Montee Ball ran for a career-high 127 yards and two touchdowns for Wisconsin.
Ball, who got extra work because No. 2 running back James White was out with a knee injury, had scoring runs of 31 and 15 yards for the Badgers (8-1, 4-1). Leading rusher John Clay was held to 42 yards on 12 carries.
Antavian Edison had six catches for 73 yards for the Boilermakers (4-5, 2-3).
â¢ No. 16 Michigan State 31, Minnesota 8 — In East Lansing, Mich., Edwin Baker ran for 179 yards and four touchdowns for Michigan State.
Baker scored twice on fourth down near the goal line to help the Spartans (9-1, 5-1) take a 21-0 halftime lead. Minnesota (1-9, 0-6) never threatened after that en route to its ninth straight loss.