Safety Bobie Singleton strips the ball away from Michigan State tailback Tyrell Dortch.
Oct. 28, 2000
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Dawan Moss ran for two touchdowns as Michigan State beat Illinois 14-10 on Saturday for its first Big Ten victory of the season.
Penalties and missed opportunities along with physical and mental mistakes by both teams made the game an ugly one to watch.
The Spartans (4-4, 1-4 Big Ten) kept their slim hopes for a bowl game alive while the Illini (4-4, 1-4) made their task of getting to six wins tougher.
Illinois took a 10-7 lead when J.J. Tubbs kicked a 23-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, but its offense stalled at Michigan State's 5.
Michigan State responded with an 11-play, 82-yard drive ending with Moss' 1-yard dive, which gave the Spartans a 14-10 lead with 8:04 remaining.
Michigan State's Ryan Van Dyke, who was 6-of-11 for 35 yards with two interceptions, was replaced by Jeff Smoker early in the third quarter.
Smoker completed 7 of 13 passes for 82 yards. He also gained 4 yards on a third-and-4 with two minutes left to help seal the victory.
Illinois' Kurt Kittner was 13-of-29 for 104 yards with two interceptions.
Michigan State's T.J. Duckett was limited by a sprained right shoulder. Duckett did not start and gained two yards on his only carry in the first half. Little John Flowers, one of his replacements, gained 85 yards on 14 carries.
Illinois' Antoineo Harris gained 123 yards on 31 carries.
Moss gave the Spartans a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter on a 4-yard run.
The Spartans, as they have all season, wasted opportunities to score.
On the opening drive, Illinois' Eugene Wilson recovered a Tyrell Dortch fumble at the Illini 9.
Michigan State's defense created another opportunity to score late in the first quarter when Cedric Henry returned an interception 33 yards to Illinois' 10.
But three plays later, Illinois' Bobie Singleton dove to make an interception in the end zone.
The Illini had a chance to score on their first two possessions of the second half, but they followed Michigan State's lead and ruined the opportunities.
Kittner's poorly thrown pass from Michigan State's 20 was intercepted by Renaldo Hill in the end zone.
Three plays later, Van Dyke lobbed a pass in the middle of the field and Illinois Bobby Jackson intercepted it and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown.
The Illini drove 77 yards to Michigan State's 7 on its next possession. On a fourth-and-1, Illinois fooled Michigan State so well on a play-action pass that a defender wasn't within 15 yards of Brian Hodges in the end zone.
But Kittner threw the ball behind Hodges, who slipped and was unable to catch the ball.