The Michigan Wolverines squared off against the Illinois Fighting Illini in Champaign on Saturday. The game looked like it was going to be a blowout early on, but it ended up getting too close for comfort.
- Michigan’s first drive of the game set a tone right out of the gate, they ran it down Illinois’ throat. After four Zach Charbonnet runs that netted 36 yards in all, Hassan Haskins capped off the drive with an impressive 29-yard touchdown run that featured broken tackles and a memorable spin move.
- Michigan’s following drive had success on the ground, Charbonnet runs of 16 and 18, and Tru Wilson runs of 14 and 9 yards helped put Michigan in the red zone. The drive then sputtered with a Patterson incompletion to Ben Mason that drew an unsportsmanlike conduct from penalty after the play. A Patterson screen incompletion that was nearly intercepted on second down, followed by a 3rd and Goal from the 20 led to a Quinn Nordin missed 34-yard field goal attempt.
- With Illinois not showing much life on offense in the first quarter, MIchigan’s third drive of the game put them up two scores. The drive took just 55 seconds. A 28-yard run by Haskins was followed by a 25-yard Patterson touchdown to tight end Luke Schoonamaker to put Michigan up 14-0 with 59 seconds left in the first quarter. The touchdown reception was the first of Schoonmaker’s career.
- Michigan’s first drive of the second quarter started in advantageous territory after a Jordan Glasgow blocked punt that kept rolling and rolling back to set Michigan’s offense up at the 7-yard line. It took the Wolverines just one play to score, a 7-yard run by Charbonnet right up the gut put Michigan up 21-0.
- The Illinois team looked as bad or worse than Rutgers in all phases of football in the first half, and Michigan’s offense continued to eat. A 71-yard reception by Ronnie Bell that showcased his razzle-dazzle abilities ultimately set Shea Patterson up with a 4-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Nick Eubanks, giving Michigan a 28-0 lead.
- After digging themselves into a major hole, Illinois’ offense finally showed signs of life right before the half, putting together a touchdown drive in the last minute via a 23-yard Matt Robinson 23-yard pass to Josh Imatorbhebhe to make the score 28-7. Illinois then was able to put a slight dent into Michigan’s lead at the start of the second half with a James McCourt 50-yard field goal to make it 28-10 Michigan.
- The Michigan offense halfway through the third quarter had 361 yards of total offense but the Wolverines were just 3-of-7 on third down and Patterson just 8-of-17 for 158 yards. With Illinois now having moderate success stopping the run, the focus shifted to Patterson and his ability to throw the ball into swirling wind.
- Illinois continued to compete in the third and turned a 28-0 deficit into a scoring run of their own, putting together a 15-play, 80-yard scoring drive that ate up 7:27 of clock and featured three Michigan penalties. The drive ended with a 1-yard Matt Robinson rushing score to make it 28-17 Michigan.
- On Michigan’s subsequent possession at the beginning of the fourth quarter, running back Tru Wilson fumbled on the first play and Illinois took over past midfield. Six plays later Dre Brown punched it in for the Illini. Illinois opted to go for two, and on their first attempt pass interference was called on Ambry Thomas. However, on their second attempt Dre Brown converted on a run to the left to lessen Michigan’s lead to 28-25.
- With Michigan in the red-zone at the 13-yard line, they had a choice to make facing a 4th and 2 situation; go for it or take a high percentage field goal attempt. Harbaugh kept his offense on the field and Patterson converted on 4th with a 4-yard keeper. Two plays later Patterson found an open Peoples-Jones on the left side of the end zone. A crucial score, it put Michigan up 35-25 with 8:57 left in the game.
- On Illinois’ next possession, instead of responding with a scoring drive of their own, they committed their second turnover of the day, a fumble by Matt Robinson forced by Cam McGrone. Michigan was faced with yet another 4th down situation and opted to go for it again, this time Hassan Haskins was bottled up for no gain and Michigan turned the ball over on downs with 7:14 left.
- On Illinois second play of the drive Mike Danna forced Matt Robinson to fumble, and Carlo Kemp caught the ball in the air and was tackled at the 1-yard line. On Michigan’s first play of the drive Michigan dialed up a Patterson QB sneak to give Michigan breathing room once gain (42-25). And that ended up being the final score with Michigan improving to 5-1 on the season and set to head to Penn State next Saturday for a night game.