College football: Illinois takes down No. 24 Gophers
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Reilly O'Toole accounted for two scores and linebacker T.J. Neal came up with a big play in the fourth quarter as the Illini celebrated Homecoming by upending the Golden Gophers 28-24 on Saturday.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Reilly O’Toole accounted for two scores and linebacker T.J. Neal came up with a big play in the fourth quarter as the Illini celebrated Homecoming by upending the Golden Gophers 28-24 on Saturday.
O’Toole, who was supposed to share time with Aaron Bailey, played all but one series and was 14-of-21 for 118 yards for Illinois (4-4, 1-3 Big Ten), which snapped a three-game losing streak and won a Big Ten home game for the first time in its last 13 tries in Champaign. O’Toole added 59 yards rushing and Josh Ferguson ran for 48 yards and a TD and added 39 yards on three receptions.
David Cobb ran for 118 yards and two second-half touchdowns for Minnesota (6-2, 3-1) but was held 26 yards below his per-game average and lost a fourth-quarter fumble that was returned for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown. Mitch Leidner was 12-of-30 for 240 yards, a touchdown, an interception and a fumble for the Gophers, who saw their four-game win streak end.
Minnesota had a 24-21 lead with possession in the fourth quarter, but Cobb was stripped by Neal on a third-down run and cornerback V’Angelo Bentley scooped up the ball and ran 12 yards for the go-ahead TD with 6:33 left. The Gophers got the ball two more times but their final drive was halted at the Illinois 35-yard line when Leidner was sacked and stripped of the ball on fourth down.
O’Toole started and took charge early, guiding Illinois on long scoring drives on two of its first three possessions and capping them off with a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jon Davis and a 9-yard TD run of his own. Minnesota was able to get on the board with Ryan Santoso’s 44-yard field goal with 12:39 remaining in the second quarter, but overall, the Gophers were held to 86 total yards and six first downs in the opening half.