Off-sides costs Minnesota points
After forcing fourth down, Gophers senior corner Briean Boddy-Calhoun jumps off-sides giving the Illini a new set of downs. Not sure what Boddy was trying to do besides time up the snap and may have flinched at the long snapper adjusting, but that can't happen in close games, especially from a senior.
Illinois capitalizes on new life
Gophers sit back in zone and Illinois QB Wes Lunt throws the perfect pass to convert on safety Antonio Johnson. Johnson has inside leverage and just misses batting the ball away, but a nice throw and catch has Illinois within a score here in the second half.
Hardin has a big day on kick return
With Illinois within a point of Minnesota, true freshman KiAnte Hardin breaks a 60 yards kick return showing off that Missouri track championship speed. Credit the blockers in front of Hardin, but he accelerates through the hole and gets a nice block from KJ Maye on the way. Love the effort Nick Rallis is showing downfield as well. Hardin had 165 kickoff return yards on the day.
McGhee lowers the boom
Safety Duke McGhee is his first significant game action of his career put on a show. The redshirt sophomore finished with 12 total tackles, two pass breakups and this tackle for loss. McGhee is one of the most physical Gophers on the team and showed it throughout the game.
Love to see big hits from safeties as receivers coming across the middle have to be aware at all times where Duke McGhee is. Yes, Illinois got the first down, but I don't remember many crossing routes the rest of the game after McGhee lowers the shoulder and just blows up the Illinois WR.
Huff with the play of the game
I'd say this was the play of the game for Minnesota. With Illinois driving down the field down one on 2nd and 10, Julian Huff gets a jump on the snap count on the left tackle and Lunt takes the sack forcing a 3rd and 21, plus Illinois had to burn a time out. Huff has a great burst and it came through to force the 3rd and long.
Brooks caps off a career day
Gophers run power here late in the game needing a first down to win it and Shannon Brooks breaks a 75 yard touchdown run. Illinois safety (#20) comes down in the box and takes an awful angle allowing Brooks to plant his left foot and turn on the jets. Great pull here by Joe Bjorklund to seal the right side of the hole and both TE Nate Wozniak and LT Foster Bush crease their blockers as well. Brooks does the rest for his third touchdown of the day.
Leidner seals the game
Love the play call here from OC Matt Limegrover. Gophers fake the jet sweep to KJ Maye and pull RG Joe Bjorklund across the formation to get the free DE. Leidner cuts it inside and LT Foster Bush seals the Illini LB so Leidner can walk in for the two point conversion. That play gives the Gophers the game 32-23.
Huff caps off the day
Lunt and Ferguson mishandle the hand off and Huff turns the corner on the LT and still has enough speed to grab the loose ball to really seal the deal for Minnesota.