15 October 2009

Wolverines and Illini Battle Until the Very End

#13 Michigan opened their Big10 schedule by hosting Illinois. This hard fought game went back and forth and wasn't decided until the fat lady bellowed. Illinois started off very strong as Eddie McGee connected with Hawthorne for a 70 yard TD to put Illinois up 7-3 after 1. The 2 teams would alternate TDs in the second quarter and they ended up with 2 apiece to give Illinois a 21-17 lead at the half.

After losing starting HB Mike Shaw last week for the season, things got even worse for the wolverines in the first half as 2nd stringer Vincent Smith went down with a shoulder injury and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks. Michigan would have to finish the game with their 3rd and 4th string running backs.

The 3rd quarter was the turning point for Michigan as they held the Illini scoreless. Midway through the quarter, Michigan's punter Shane Johnson would pin the Illini inside their 5 yard line. The weather, which had been rainy all game, caused another of many miscues during the game. As you can see in the highlight reel, QB McGee, would slip and lose his balance while dropping back. This allowed LB Jonas Mouton to sack him for a safety. Michigan would add another TD to take their 1st lead since leading 3-0.

Early on in the 4th quarter Michigan would use a Tate Forcier 5yd TD run to take a 33-21 lead. Illinois would score another TD with 1 minute remaining to cut the lead to 33-28. Illinois would not recover their onside kick so Michigan got the ball on the Illinois 35 yd line. All Michigan had to do was run out the clock. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, Michigan was stopped short of the first down on their 1st 2 tries as Illinois used their TOs to stop the clock. On 3rd and 2, Michigan ran a QB blast play and Tate Forcier was stood up at the line by a jarring hit which popped the ball loose and Illinois would recover it. With no TOs left, Illinois would pass the ball and eventually get to Michigan's 30 yard line before the time ran out to seal the Wolverine victory.

Michigan will now have to lick their wounds and prepare for their trip to Happy Valley next week.

Game Statistics

First Downs1621
Total Offense420394
Passing YDS387190
3rd Down Conv4-84-13
4th Down Conv0-12-2
2pt Conv0-00-0
PR Yds116
KR Yds148122
Total Yards579522

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