Kirk Irwin

Minnesota vs. Illinois: Illini fall to Gophers, have now lost 7-straight games

The Illini failed to best the Golden Gophers on Saturday, and have now lost seven-straight games.

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Illinois falls to Minnesota, 17-3

The Minnesota Golden Gophers pulled off a 17-3 victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday.

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Illini trail Gophers in 4th quarter

The Minnesota Golden Gophers broke through in the third quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini, as running back Donnell Kirkwood found the end zone to give the Gophers a 10-3 lead, which they're now carrying into the fourth quarter. Kirkwood scored from 3 yards out on a second-and-goal, and he's been a big part of this offense thus far.

More accurately, he's been the biggest part of this offense. He has 18 carries for 109 yards and the aforementioned touchdown. Rodrick Williams Jr. has added nine carries for 53 yards as his backup, while quarterback Philip Nelson has only thrown for 38 yards off of five completions.

Illinois had the lead after the first quarter, when Nick Immekus kicked a 20-yard field goal, but Minnesota tied it up in the second quarter with a 20-yarder from Jordan Wetstein. Both drives stalled out a couple yards out from the end zone. Illinois hasn't been able to get much done, even though Nathan Scheelhaase has been accurate, completing 9 of 13 for 116 yards.

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Gophers, Illini tied at halftime

Through two quarters of play, the 2-7 Illinois Fighting Illini find themselves in a defensive stalemate with the 5-4 Minnesota Golden Gophers. After taking a 3-0 lead into the second quarter, the Illini allowed Minnesota to put together a 10-play drive that took them 65 yards, which ended in a Jordan Wetstein 20-yard field goal.

Minnesota had a 1st-and-goal at the Illinois 5-yard line, and Donnell Kirkwood took it to the 2-yard line after a short rush. He then lost one yard on yet another rush, and Philip Nelson threw an incomplete pass on third down, which led to the field goal. The drive was entirely made up of run plays (eight) until the incomplete pass on third down.

Nelson is just 3-for-7 for Minnesota, with 18 yards and no touchdowns. Nathan Scheelhaase is 5-for-8 for 108 yards and no touchdowns as well. Kirkwood has 86 yards on the ground, and Minnesota is out-gaining Illinois on the ground, 127 yards to 62.

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Illini lead Gophers after 1st quarter

Through one quarter of play, 2-7 Illinois finds themselves up on 5-4 Minnesota, albeit by a small margin. The Fighting Illini hold a 3-0 lead at the start of the second quarter, following a Nick Immekus 20-yard field goal about halfway through the opening frame.

It was Illinois' first possession, and they went nine plays and 90 yards, with a drive helped out by a big completion from Nathan Scheelhaase to Spencer Harris for 49 yards on the Illini's second play from scrimmage on offense. Donovonn Young also had a big rush on the drive, for 16 yards that actually preceded that pass.

Ultimately, they stalled out on the Minnesota 2-yard line, after Scheelhaase was stopped for a loss of one yard on a 3rd-and-goal. They had reached a 2nd-and-goal on the 1-yard line, but weren't able to punch it in.

Minnesota has punted three times, while Illinois also punted on their second possession. It was a 3-and-out.

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