Game Recap: Illinois

The Gophers ended their nine game losing streak with a 38-34 victory over Illinois in Campaign on Saturday. Junior running back DeLeon Eskridge scored the winning touchdown with 0:16 remaining on the game clock.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Quarterback Adam Weber continued his assent up the Big Ten's career-passing yards chart today, moving into third place ahead of former Northwestern quarterback Brett Basanez (10,580) during the second quarter. He finished the game with 10,753 career passing yards.

--Gary Tinsely had a team-high 12 tackles, his second best total of the season and the fifth time this year he recorder more than 10 tackles in a game.

Quarterback Adam Weber
Weber moved into fourth place on the Big Ten's career total offense list, passing Indiana's Antwaan Randle El (11,364) during Saturday's game. The fifth-year senior finished the day with 254 total yards, giving him 11,434 for his career.
--Da'Jon McKnight extended his catch streak 16 games today. The junior wide receiver also nabbed his 10th touchdown reception of the season. His 10 touchdown catches are a Gophers single-season record. McKnight now leads the Big Ten in that category.

--Jewhan Edwards notched sack on the final play, giving him his second for the season. It was also Edward's team-leading ninth tackle for loss. The junior defensive tackle now has two of the Gophers' six sacks this season.

GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Adam Weber -- The fifth-year senior quarterback showed his composure Saturday leading the Gophers to a victory on a 10 play 80 yard scoring drive. The crucial play was a designed quarterback draw on third-and-10, when Weber burst up the middle of a gaping Illini defense for 29 yards to extend the final drive. Weber completed two more passes to Duane Bennett and had another 4-yard run to set up the winning touchdown run by DeLeon Eskridge.

KEEP AN EYE ON: DE/DT Anthony Jacobs -- The 6-foot-2, 300-pounder is becoming a force along the defensive line. Jacobs built off his six-tackle performance last week with, finishing with eight tackles and his second sack of the season. Jacobs is a disruptive force whether he is lined up inside at defensive tackle or outside at defensive end. The defense will need Jacobs to finish the season strong when a physical Iowa team comes to down.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It felt like we won a national championship and it should be like that. It may be a second win, but those kids deserve it and hung in there. I don't know if people realize how tough the situation is. It's a tough situation and everyday is a battle."-- Interim coach Jeff Horton, on the mood in the locker room following Saturday's victory over Illinois.

RUNNING BACK DELEON ESKRIDGE

The junior has rushed for 603 yards and six touchdowns on 172 attempts this season.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

LOOKING GOOD: The tough running of DeLeon Eskridge was vital to the Gophers success Saturday. Although Eskridge finished with only 61 yards on 14 carries, two of those carries were for first downs and three went for touchdowns including the game winner with only 0:16 left on the clock.

STILL NEEDS WORK: Minnesota's rush defense was ranked No. 106 in the nation entering the game averaging 200.5 yards allowed per game. Illinois put up 201 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. It's unrealistic to expect Minnesota to fix the problems that have plagued their run defense all season during the bye week, but if they don't find away to slow down Iowa's Adam Robinson, it won't be a festive farewell on senior night in TCF Bank.

ROSTER REPORT:

--LB Mike Rallis missed the game with an undisclosed injury. It may have been related to a strained abdominal muscle that has caused him to missed time this season. Sophomore Ryan Grant started in place of Rallis at strong side linebacker.

--OL Ryan Wynn made his first start since 2008 when he lined left tackle in place of the injured Ed Olson. Wynn played well as a replacement and the entire Gopher line kept Weber from getting sacked all game.


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