Top Illini Wins Vs. Michigan


Oct. 19, 2007

Fans went on-line during the past week at and to vote for their top Illini football win over Wisconsin.  Here are the results...

ILLINOIS 35, #9 Michigan 29
Oct. 23, 1999 // Ann Arbor, Mich..

Illinois went into the seventh game of the 1999 season against ninth-ranked Michigan with a 3-3 record, but at the bottom of the Big Ten Conference with a 0-3 mark. It looked like that record would move to 0-4 midway through the third quarter when Anthony Thomas' one-yard TD run gave the Wolverines a 27-7 lead. The Illini, however, came storming back storming back with 28 unanswered points and held on in the final seconds to finish off the biggest come-from-behind victory in school history.

Illinois took an early 7-0 lead on a six-yard Kurt Kittner touchdown toss to Jameel Cook, but Michigan took control after that, reeling off 27 straight points on two touchdown passes by Tom Brady and two TD runs by Thomas.

Down 20 with less than 6:01 to play in the third quarter, the Illini used the arm of Kurt Kittner the legs of Rocky Harvey to put together touchdown drives on their final four possessions. Things got started with a nine-play, 80-yard march capped by a 31-yard TD pass from Kittner to Walter Young to pull the Illini within 27-14. After forcing a Michigan punt, Illinois went on a marathon 17-play, 77-yard drive that ended with a three-yard Kittner toss to Brian Hodges to make the score, 27-21, Wolverines, with 6:25 remaining.

Rocky Harvey's dive in to the endzone gave the Fighting Illini a 28-27 lead
late in the fourth quarter of Illinois' thrilling 35-29 comeback win at Ann Arbor in 1999.

After another Michigan punt, Illinois got the ball back with four minutes to play needing a touchdown and PAT for the lead. On 3rd-and-4 from their own 41, Kittner found Harvey on a short route over the middle, Harvey cut right and broke free for 59 yards and a dive into the end zone to give the Illini a one-point lead, 28-27.

On the ensuing Michigan drive, Trayvon Waller picked off a fourth-down Brady pass at the Illinois 23 yard line and took it back near midfield with 1:15 left. With the Illini now in position to run out the clock for the victory, Harvey again broke free, this time on a 54-yard run to the left corner of the end zone put the Illini up 35-27 with just under a minute to play. The run kept Michigan's hopes alive, as they would get the ball back within a TD and a two-point conversion. On their final drive, Brady led the Wolverine offense down to the Illinois 16 yard line with less than 30 seconds left to play. Two incompletions thrown toward David Terrell set up a crazy third-down play. Illinois' Tony Francis intercepted a Brady pass at the Illinois 2-yard line, but fumbled into the Illini end zone. Fortunately, Illinois' Muhammad Abdullah pounced on the fumble for a safety, preventing the Wolverine's from a touchdown and a chance to tie.

Kittner ended the day 24-for-33 for 280 yards and four touchdowns, while Rocky Harvey led the ground attack with 108 yards and a touchdown, as well as racking up 61 receiving yards and a touchdown. Danny Clark, Asim Pleas, and Muhammad Abdullah each put up double-digit tackle numbers for the Illini defense. Illinois went on to win four of its next five games, including a blowout 63-21 victory over Thomas Jones and the Virginia Cavaliers in the Bowl.

Illinois 39, Michigan 14
Oct. 18, 1924 // Champaign, Ill.

At the Memorial Stadium dedication game, Harold "Red" Grange (pictured) turned in one of the greatest performances in college football history. Grange reached legendary status with a six-touchdown, 402 total yard performance against the Wolverines, who came in with a 20-game unbeaten streak. He scored four touchdowns in the first quarter, including a 95-yard kickoff return. His first-quarter outburst equaled the number of TDs allowed by Michigan in the previous two seasons. After sitting out the second quarter, Grange returned in the second half, contributing two additional TDs, one rushing and one passing, for an unheard-of grand total of six touchdowns in a single game. The performance inspired Chicago sportswriter Warren Brown to dub Grange the "Galloping Ghost."
#9 Illinois 16, #8 Michigan 6
Oct. 29, 1983 // Champaign, Ill.

Illinois continued its march to the Rose Bowl by defeating No. 8 Michigan, 16-6. Junior quarterback Jack Trudeau passed for 271 yards and two touchdowns, while David Williams (pictured) had six catches for 127 yards and a 46-yard TD from Trudeau. Illinois closed the door on the Wolverines with a safety with under two minutes to play and Michigan still within striking distance at 14-6. The Illini grabbed sole possession of the Big Ten lead with the win on their way to a perfect 9-0 conference mark and a Rose Bowl date with UCLA.
Illinois 24, #13 Michigan 21
Oct. 23, 1993 // Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Fighting Illini scored on a fourth-down, 15-yard pass play from quarterback Johnny Johnson (pictured) to Jim Klein with 34 seconds remaining to upset the Wolverines, 24-21, before a homecoming crowd of 106,385 in the Big House. Michigan had a chance to ice the game in the final minutes, but Illinois linebackers Kevin Hardy and Simeon Rice combined to forced a Michigan fumble with just 1:13 left that set-up Johnson's heroics 39 seconds later. On the day, Johnson threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns.