Minnesota 38

(2-9, 1-6 Big Ten)

Illinois 34

(5-5, 3-4 Big Ten)

Coverage: BTN

12:00 PM ET, November 13, 2010

Memorial Stadium (Champaign, IL), Champaign, IL

1 2 3 4 T
MINN 0 17 7 1438
ILL 7 0 13 1434

Top Performers

Passing: A. Weber (MINN) - 225 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: M. Leshoure (ILL) - 18 CAR, 141 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: A. Jenkins (ILL) - 6 REC, 137 YDS, 1 TD

DeLeon Eskridge scores 3 TDs as Gophers come back to upset Illinois

Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- DeLeon Eskridge rescued Minnesota from its tenth loss Saturday, leading the Gophers to a 38-34 comeback upset of Illinois with a last-minute touchdown run.

Eskridge scored three touchdowns for the Golden Gophers (2-9, 1-6 Big Ten) and rushed for 49 yards on 14 carries.

The last, a 2-yarder, came with 16 seconds to play and capped an 80-yard drive engineered by quarterback Adam Weber.

Trailing 34-31 and facing a third and 10 at his own 20 with 2:30 to play, Weber dropped back to pass and didn't see an open receiver. Instead he saw a huge hole in the middle of the Illinois defense, and ran straight into it for 29 yards and a first down at the Minnesota 49.

Six plays later Eskridge gave the Gophers the lead.

Weber, who some fans have said should give way to sophomore MarQueis Gray, was 20 of 26 for 225 yards and two TDs. He was seldom pressured by the Fighting Illini.

The loss keeps Illinois (5-5, 3-4) a game short of bowl eligibility. Illinois hasn't been to a bowl in three years.

With just over eight minutes to play, the Illini looked close to locking up that key sixth win when Mikel Leshoure burst around the right end for a 55-yard touchdown that, with the extra point, gave Illinois a 34-24 lead.

Leshoure finished with 141 yards on 18 carries and scored two touchdowns.

Badly needing an answer to Leshoure's potentially back-breaking run, the Gophers got a 92-yard kickoff return by Troy Stoudermire. Justin Green's tackle at the Illinois 4 only delayed the inevitable.

It was Eskridge this time, too, running 4 yards on second down for a score that pulled the Gophers back to within three at 34-31 with 7:55 to play.

The Gopher defense, which sacked quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase three times, quickly stopped the Illini on their next two possessions, not allowing Illinois even one clock-draining first down.

Minnesota led 17-7 at the half on Eskridge's first touchdown run, a scoring pass from Weber to Tiree Eure and a line-drive 45-yard field goal by Eric Ellestad.

Illinois turned that halftime deficit into a lead in the first eight minutes of the second half.

Leshoure's first touchdown ended an 80-yard drive that made the score 17-14.

Minutes later, Illinois linebacker Nate Bussey recovered a fumble by Gopher Eric Lair at the Minnesota 37.

From there, Scheelhaase guided Illinois to the 17, where he flawlessly led Spencer Harris on a crossing route into the end zone. Illinois blew the extra point, but was back in the lead, 20-17, with 7:59 to play in the third quarter.

Scheelhaase was 10 of 21 for 172 yards and two TDs. He found A.J. Jenkins six times for 137 yards and a touchdown.

Illinois has two shots left at the sixth win that would make it bowl eligible. Both are on the road, at Northwestern and Fresno State. Illinois hasn't been to the postseason since the 2008 Rose Bowl.


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs2120
Total Yards361410
3rd Down Conversions7-156-14
4th Down Conversions0-01-2

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

TD08:12A.J. Jenkins 28 Yd Pass From Nathan Scheelhaase (Derek Dimke Kick) 07
TD11:26DeLeon Eskridge 1 Yd Run (Eric Ellestad Kick) 77
TD05:23Tiree Eure 14 Yd Pass From Adam Weber (Eric Ellestad Kick) 147
FG00:10Eric Ellestad 45 Yd 177
TD09:40Mikel Leshoure 14 Yd Run (Derek Dimke Kick) 1714
TD07:59Spencer Harris 17 Yd Pass From Nathan Scheelhaase (Two-Point Conversion Failed) 1720
TD04:50Da'Jon McKnight 24 Yd Pass From Adam Weber (Eric Ellestad Kick) 2420
TD10:44Jason Ford 4 Yd Run (Derek Dimke Kick) 2427
TD08:14Mikel Leshoure 55 Yd Run (Derek Dimke Kick) 2434
TD07:55DeLeon Eskridge 4 Yd Run (Eric Ellestad Kick) 3134
TD00:16DeLeon Eskridge 2 Yd Run (Eric Ellestad Kick) 3834