MINNEAPOLIS (WCIA) — Just when it seemed like Illinois was about to head down another losing streak, the team surprised Illini nation by taking down No. 20 Minnesota on the road. The Illini now have two marquee wins, including their upset at No. 7 Penn State, and a defense gets a lot of credit for keeping Illinois in these games.
In Illinois’ 14-6 win against the Gophers, they held them to just 89 rushing yards, and sacked Tanner Morgan six times. Kerby Joseph and Tarique Barnes each had an interception, with Barnes’ pick leading to Illinois’ go-ahead touchdown in the first quarter.
“At times this year we’ve been tough — tough moments,” says head coach Bret Bielema. “I kind of refer to it as the fog, you gotta see through the fog to get where they want to be and these guys just keep doing that, kept pressing themselves. Really impressed with our defense, and offensively to get that first touchdown, that was a tone-setter.”
“We show that [toughness] a lot,” says Illinois outside linebacker Owen Carney. “It’s a great unit, and when everyone is executing we’re very hard to get off track.”
The Illini are on a bye this week. Next up, they take on Iowa on November 20th on the road.