Michigan is 32-11-1 against the Illini in Ann Arbor, but three of those Illini wins and the tie have come in the last 20 years. A look at Illinois’ recent success — including one memorable loss — at the Big House.
Illinois 22, Michigan 22
Nov. 14, 1992
When Jason Verduzco capped a 10-play, 65-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run with 2:26 remaining to give the Illini a 22-19 lead in front of what was then the third-largest crowd in NCAA history (106,481), it looked as though the Illini would pick up their first win at the Big House since 1966. But the Wolverines, who turned the ball over five times in the first half, used six straight completions from Elvis Grbac to set up Peter Elezovic’s 39-yard field goal to tie it with 16 seconds left.
Illinois 24, Michigan 21
Oct. 23, 1993
Trailing the 13th-ranked Wolverines 21-17 with 1:13 remaining in front of a homecoming crowd of 106,385, future top-five draft pick Simeon Rice forced Michigan’s Ricky Powers to fumble, giving the Illini the ball back at the Wolverines 44. That set the stage for Johnny Johnson’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Jim Klein on fourth down with 34 seconds remaining. It was the first win for the Illini in the Big House in 27 years.
Illinois 35, Michigan 29
Oct. 23, 1999
How many of you turned the television off when Michigan’s Anthony Thomas scored on a 1-yard plunge to give the Wolverines a 27-7 lead with 6:01 to play in the third quarter? If you did, you missed one of the most talked-about comebacks in Illini history as Kurt Kittner (four TD passes) out-dueled Tom Brady over the final 21 minutes, capped by Rocky Harvey’s famous dive into the end zone on a 59-yard pass from Kittner as the Illini knocked off the ninth-ranked Wolverines in front of 110,188.
Illinois 45, Michigan 20
Oct. 4, 2008
The last time an Illinois team scored as many points against the Wolverines was 1924 when a guy named Red Grange led the Illini to a 39-14 victory at the new Memorial Stadium. In one of Juice Williams’ (above) signature games as an Illini, the quarterback passed for 310 yards and ran for 121 to set a then-Michigan Stadium record, racking up 431 yards of total offense to go along with four total touchdowns, leaving 109,750 maize-and-blue-clad fans stunned.
Michigan 67, Illinois 65 (3OT)
Nov. 6, 2010
So, it wasn’t a win. But if you were there or watched it on television, it’s a game you’ll likely always remember. Defense was optional in a game where the Illini and Wolverines set the Big Ten record for points scored (132) and total yards (1,237) in an instant classic. When Champaign’s Mikel Leshoure scored the second of his five touchdowns with 11:35 left in regulation, it looked like the Illini were headed to bowl eligibility. Then Darryl Stonum caught a 9-yard TD pass from Tate Forcier, who replaced an injured Denard Robinson, with 1:46 left in regulation. The teams traded touchdowns in the three overtimes, the difference being Forcier’s two-point conversion pass to Junior Hemingway.