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Illinois football: Illini offense missing in action

The Illinois offense once again struggled Saturday, as the Fighting Illini fell to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 17-3.

Kirk Irwin

The Illinois Fighting Illini gave fans a rare glimpse of offensive ability Saturday as they opened the game against Minnesota with a 16-yard run and a successful flea flicker. But after the drive stalled on the 1-yard line and Illinois settled for three points, the Fighting Illini did not reach the red zone again for the rest of the game. They fell to the MInnesota Golden Gophers, 17-3.

Head coach Tim Beckman said that the Minnesota goalline stand was a huge turning point in the loss, according to Chris Davies of Comcast Sports Net Chicago.

"We've got to get off the football, bloody some mouths, and get us a yard when we need a yard," Beckman said, venting frustration about settling for a field goal. "We can't put the ball on the one-yard line for three downs and not get the ball in the end zone. This is college football."

Illinois managed only 187 yards for the remainder of the game and turned the ball over twice. Three points was all the Illini could muster.

"Scoring three points is not going to cut it in any league," (Beckman) said. "I haven't been around this ... losing. It's been tough, but we've got to find ways to motivate them."

Illinois drops to 2-8 on the season with the loss, a mark good enough for last in the Big Ten. The Fighting Illini, which have not won a conference game in close to 400 days, look to rebound Saturday against Purdue.