After a week of preparation and knowing that their team needed this road win for a better chance at being bowl eligible, Coach P.J. Fleck and his Gophers disappointed in a 55-31 loss to the Fighting Illini. Minnesota allowed three plays of over 70-yards in the loss and over 400 rushing yards to Illinois who came into the game with a 3-5 record. The 4-5 Gophers will now need two wins in its last three games to become bowl eligible. The remaining schedule includes home games against Purdue and Northwestern before a trip to Madison to face off against Wisconsin in the season finale.
98: Rushing yards by Mohamed Ibrahim in the loss. Ibrahim scored the only first two touchdowns for Minnesota and looked good after coming back from injury. Shannon Brooks traveled with the team but didn’t play. Seth Green, Tanner Morgan, Bryce Williams and Ibrahim combined for 187 total rushing yards.
86: The number of yards of the Rashod Bateman touchdown in the fourth quarter, his second of the game. The two catches by Bateman were the lone bright moments for the Gophers as Illinois defense contained Morgan and Co. on many drives throughout the game. Bateman ended the game with seven catches for 175 yards and the two touchdowns.
12.3: The average number of yards the Illini gained on every run in the blowout win. Reggie Corbin, AJ Bush, and Dre Brown combined for 35 rushes, 430 rushing yards, and five touchdowns. Corbin had two rushes of over 70-yards while Brown added one on Illinois second touchdown of the game.
9: Total tackles by Jordan Howden to lead the Gophers on Saturday afternoon. Minnesota also combined for six tackles for loss and one forced fumble.
10: Targets for Tyler Johnson, second to just Bateman (12). Johnson caught five of his ten targets for 68 yards. His best catch of the day came late in the first half for 31 yards.
646: Yards gave up by the Gophers defense. On top of the 430 rushing yards, Illinois quarterback AJ Bush went 18 for 25 on the day, throwing for 216 yards, and two touchdowns. Bush’s lone mistake in the game was an interception he threw in the first half that was caught by Coney Durr.
20: Both teams had 20 first downs in the game with the Gophers running 70 total plays and Illinois running 60. The Fighting Illini averaged 10.8 yards per play, far superior to Minnesota’s 6.3. Illinois was a perfect three for three in the red zone, with many of their touchdowns coming on long runs. Minnesota had the ball for 5:40 longer than Illinois did in the loss.
0: Points scored in the third quarter after trailing by just seven into halftime and receiving the ball first in the third quarter. Illinois dominated the third quarter, scoring 21 points to extend the lead to 45-17 after 45 minutes of play. Minnesota outscored Illinois 14-10 in the fourth quarter but it was far too late for P.J. Fleck and Co.