ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WCIA) — Illinois came close to knocking off No. 3 Michigan, holding a lead late into the fourth quarter before a last second field goal lifted the Wolverines 19-17 over the Illini.
With 3:14 seconds left in the game, Illinois needed just two first downs to put the game on ice and complete its biggest upset in 15 years, but after a three and out and three Michigan timeouts, the Wolverines had over two minutes to March down the field and keep its undefeated season. Once again, late penalties were the difference jubilation and disappointment.
“I’m extremely pissed off,” Illinois head coach Bret Bielema said. “I think our kids did a lot to win the football game, and to continually have things go against us is very frustrating. You gotta stand up for the people you believe in and I believe in that locker room big time.”
“We know he has our back,” Illinois running back Chase Brown said. “He’s been in this business a long time, he knows what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Coming off an injury in the final minute against Purdue, Chase Brown was not slowed at all, scoring twice and rushing for 140 yards. Illinois and Michigan proved they’re two of the top defenses in the country. After an opening drive score, the Illini held the Wolverines out of the endzone for the rest of the game. An impressive showing against number 3 in the country, but the Illini aren’t taking moral victories.
“We play to win,” Illinois defensive back Sydney Brown said. “We didn’t come here to just play Michigan, we came here to beat Michigan. It’s hard when it doesn’t go your way.”
“We’re not here to play in football games, we’re here to win them,” Illinois offensive lineman Alex Palczewski said. “That’s why today’s so disappointing because we had them on the ropes.”
Illinois is now eliminated from Big Ten Title Game contention, with Purdue beating Northwestern. The 1-10 Wildcats are all that’s left on the 2022 regular season schedule, they’ll try to close it out with a bang before finding out it’s bowl destination.