There’s something about this Bret Bielema squad and ranked teams on the road.
After knocking off No. 7 Penn State in historic fashion two weeks ago, the Illini traveled to No. 20 Minnesota on Saturday and knocked off the Golden Gophers, 14-6.
Offensively, the Illini’s recipe for success was the ground game. Chase Brown led the way for the rushing attack, notching 147 yards on 32 carries and sparked a dominant opening half. The Illini couldn’t get much going in the second half, but luckily didn’t need to after mounting a lead early.
Ryan Walters’ defense was the star of the show, however, and it started immediately. An interception by Tarique Barnes on Minnesota’s first drive set the Illini up with excellent field position. Then, Isaiah Williams and the offense capped off its first possession with a 3-yard jet sweep that found the endzone.
Minnesota’s offense was held to just 289 total yards. The Golden Gophers didn’t eclipse either 100 yards passing or 100 yards rushing until midway through the fourth frame. Illinois’ defense also totaled five sacks and seven tackles for loss.
After the Illinois defense forced a quick three-and-out, Brandon Peters marched 86 yards down the field on the ensuing drive, finding tight end Tip Reiman from 15 yards out to give Illinois a two-score lead early on in the second quarter.
Minnesota found the endzone with about five minutes remaining, but that was it for the Golden Gophers offensively.
They almost had it :(
Last #illini defense Big Ten shutout: 2001 (Iowa)— Jeremy Werner (@JWerner247) November 6, 2021
Last Big Ten road shutout for Illinois defense: 1965 (h/t @matthewcstevens)
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
When it counts!@GIFTEDOWEN gets a sack! pic.twitter.com/d0N0c8Lc7g— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) November 6, 2021
TWEET OF THE GAME
Champaign, Illinois if Ryan Walters stays as DC for the next 5 years pic.twitter.com/OO0OXcluhy— Matt Silich (@msilich2) November 6, 2021
This was certainly a choice.
Gotta go kicker reverse pass when you smell blood in the water. pic.twitter.com/Pfrq9mkjvX— Ian Gold (@iansgold) November 6, 2021
The Illini get a week off before traveling to Iowa City for another top-25 showdown against the Hawkeyes. Kick-off time is still TBA