Top Illini Wins Vs. Michigan
Oct. 19, 2007
Fans went on-line during the past week at fightingillini.com and CoachRonZook.com to vote for their top Illini football win over Wisconsin. Here are the results...
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.
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 Micronpc.com Bowl.