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FINAL: Minnesota 17, Illinois 3.

CHAMPAIGN — The losing streak continues.

In a battle of sluggish offenses, Minnesota running back Donnell Kirkwood did most of the work, rushing for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Kirkwood’s 3-yard run in the third quarter broke a 3-3 tie. He scored on a 12-yard run late in the fourth quarter to clinch the victory, giving his team its fourth straight win at Illinois.

Minnesota (6-4, 2-4 Big Ten) became bowl eligible for the first time since 2009, and won for the second time in three tries. Illinois has dropped seven straight including 12 in a row within Big Ten play.

The victory was the first Big Ten road win for second-year Minnesota coach Jerry Kill.

In their first eight possessions, the Illini had a 20-yard field goal by Nick Immekus in the first quarter, a fumble and six punts.

Minnesota 10, Illinois 3: End of third quarter

Third-quarter star: Donnell Kirkwood, Minnesota. He’s the first guy to put more than three points on the scoreboard at one time today. The running back has run for 109 yards on 18 carries (6.1 average) and put Minnesota ahead with a 3-yard TD run with 2:31 left in the frame.

Third-quarter goat: Akeem Spence, Illinois. It kills me when guys commit obvious penalties and complain to their teammates, coaches and officials as if they did nothing wrong. Spence nearly took the helmet off a Golden Gopher offensive lineman and insisted he didn’t deserve his personal foul hands-to-the-face penalty. What’s that coaches always say, the film doesn’t lie?

By the numbers:

38 — passing yards for the Gophers, who are somehow still winning.

168 — rushing yards for Minnesota. Rodrick Williams has added 53.

5 — penalties against the Illini. They’ve been pelanlzed 40 yards.

4 — penalties against Minnesota for 19 yards.

12 — first downs for Minnesota. Illinois has eight.

175 — total yards for the Illini. They’ve got 109 through the air.

12 — career-high tackle total for freshman linebacker Mason Monheim. He’s got to be a candidate for Defensive Player of the Week.

7 — tackle totals for Akeem Spence and Earnest Thomas.

9 — team-high tackle total for Minnesota’s Aaron Hill

15 — the number of minutes remaining in regulation. Hopefully they fly by.

Illinois 3, Minnesota 3: HALFTIME

Second-quarter star: Akeem Spence, Illinois. The 300-pound defensive tackle showed why he’ll draw an NFL paycheck one day on Minnesota’s field goal drive. A couple of bone-crushing tackles got the crowd into it and then he clogged the middle when Minnesota had 1st-and-goal from the 5 to hold the Gophers to a field goal.

Second-quarter goat: Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois. The quarterback has played fairly well today, but he flat-out dropped a snap that resulted in a turnover and killed a drive that would likely have resulted in at least three points.

What we’re thinking: It looks like Illinois has this kick return thing figured out. Ryan Lankford broke a 44-yarder late in the half. Good thing they’re not doing the Orange Hush here, it would be quiet throughout, these teams don’t look like they’re getting to double figures any time soon.

By the numbers:

170 — total yards for the Illini.

108 — passing yards for Nathan Scheelhaase

145 — total yards for the Gophers.

127 — rushing yards for Minnesota. Donnell Kirkwood has 86 on 12 carries

0 — touchdowns in this game

28 — team-high rushing yards for Illinois’ Donovonn Young on six carries. He had 23 after three carries.

18 — passing yards for Minnesota freshman QB Philip Nelson. He’s 3 for 7.

8 — game-high tackle total for freshman linebacker Mason Monheim. Earnest Thomas (sack) and Akeem Spence each have six.

7 — team-high tackle total for Minnesota’s Aaron Hill.

1 — turnover in the game. It was a fumble by Scheelhaase on a dropped snap.

Illinois 3, Minnesota 0 — End of first quarter

First-quarter star: Spencer Harris, Illinois. The receiver is kind of a forgotten man at times, not being targeted as often as the other receivers, but when he gets a chance he makes plays. He got loose on a flea-flicker and caught a 49-yard pass from Nathan Scheelhaase with a defender draped all over him.

First-quarter goat: Offensive line, Illinois. Three chances to punch it in from inside the 5 and the Illini had to settle for a field goal. Minnesota is going to get it going offensively. Illinois needs to score TDs down there.

What we’re thinking: Why not go crazy and open the play book with some trick plays? The rest of the stuff hasn’t been working all season. Expect to see a few more trick plays from the Illini today. What’s there to lose?

By the numbers:

93 — total yards for the Illini

7.7 — average yards per carry for Donovonn Young. He’s got 23 yards on three carries.

60 — passing yards for Nathan Scheelhaase. He’s completed 2 of 3 passes.

67 — total yards for the Gophers. They’ve got 49 yards on the ground

4 — first downs for the Gophers. Illinois has thre.

0 — Penalties for the Illini. Minnesota has been flagged twice for 10 yards.

5 — The number of NFL players Chicago Sun-Times reporter Herb Gould just counted on the Illinois defense. Brown, Buchanan, Hawthorne, Spence and Monheim were his guys.

2 — Taylor Zalewski kickoffs that nearly killed an Illinois drum major. Same woman narrowly missed disaster twice.

 

Minnesota at Illinois — Kickoff

The student section is pretty bare, there’s a chance it picks up a little.

The Illinois captains today are Terry Hawthorne, Zach Becker, Glenn Foster and Jon Davis.

There was a moment of silence before the game for the men and women who were killed in combat.

The Illini wonthe toss and deferred.Minnesota will receiver heading toward the south end zone.

Game time temperature is an unseasonable 74 degrees with the wind howling out of the south at 25 mph. That will be a factor.

Got some predictions from the folks in the press box. Spoiler alert, the all picked the Gophers.

Shannon Ryan from the Chicago Tribune says 27-21

Mark Tupper of the Decatur Herald and Review says 27-13

Jeremy Werner of Connect FM, ESPN-CU says 20-13

Fletcher Page from Scout.com says 27-14

David Mercer of the Associated Press said 23-13

Asmussen says 38-21.

I went with 30-20.

Minnesota at Illinois — 15 minutes before kickoff

The depth chart handed out lists Supo Sanni as the starter free safety but Gene Honda just announced Patrick Nixon-Youman as the starter alongside Earnest Thomas. Sanni has struggled of late, but expect that he will play plenty today.

There aren’t many better guys around than Sanni. He’s sharp and is going to make a lot of money one day in whatever he chooses to do.

Anyone watching this Northwestern-Michigan game? The ‘Cats have to win one of these close games, right?

That Purdue game that looked very, very winnable next week just got tougher as the Boilers are handling Iowa right now.

Asmussen points out there are not a lot of people here. The crowds have been better than expected in recent weeks and they’ve been late-arriving. No surprise, Tate is having an in-depth discussion with someone about the attendance right now.

Marching Illini set to take the field. So are the dads.

I’ll be back just before the opening kick.

Minnesota at Illinois — 30 minutes before kickoff

Jonathan Brown is in jeans today with his orange No. 45 jersey. The Butkus Award semifinalist won’t play today after suffering a shoulder injury in the first quarter last week against Ohio State. Freshman Mike Svetina will start at outside linebacker in his place. That’s two true freshman linebackers in the starting lineup for the Illini today. The outstanding Mason Monheim starts in the middle.

Svetina and Monheim, both Ohio natives, are going to make a fine duo during their time at Illinois.

Steve Hull is in uniform and going through drills. The safety missed last week's game with another shoulder injury. Tough man.

The Illinois dads are standing along the east sideline wearing their sons’ blue game jerseys. The dads are all wearing white ball caps, too.

There are a bunch of recruits in the North end zone. Illinois could probably use a couple of them on the field today.

Bob and I were just talking about candidates for All-State Player of the Year. Anybody got any suggestions out there?

There was a basketball game last night. John Groce got his first win as the Illinois coach. Read about it here.

Minnesota at Illinois — 60 minutes before kickoff

Bob Asmussen has just joined me here in the press box. Bob’s doing great. He’s bragging about his eye sight. It’s actually improved through all the health issues. Small victories.

The Illini specialists are on the field. Nick Immekus is kicking field goals.

Really looking forward to seeing Zach Becker on the field at linebacker for the first time in his career here. I saw Becker play linebacker at nearby St. Joseph-Ogden High School and he was a stud back then.

The Illini are wearing orange helmets with orange tops and white pants. I believe that’s the first time we’ve seen that combination this season.

Minnesota, which has won four straight games at Memorial Stadium, counters with gold pants, white tops and maroon helmets.

Jerry Kill will probably go with the Maroon face. Did you see that episode of “The Journey” when he was giving a pep talk? His face was the same color as the team uniform. Dude is intense.

Josh Ferguson is in uniform and appears ready to go after missing the game at Ohio State last week with a hip pointer.

Here’s Jim Rossow’s Big Ten Report for this week.

Loren Tate caught up with former Illinois coach Ron Turner. He weighs in on Tim Beckman’s first year.

Minnesota at Illinois — 90 minutes before kickoff

Good afternoon, Marcus Jackson joining you from Memorial Stadium on this beautiful fall day.

If you get the chance, get outside today, it’s 70 and sunny, a perfect day for baseball. Or, in this case, a perfect day for football. We’ve got a Minnesota team playing for bowl eligibility today and an Illinois squad playing for pride after being eliminated from bowl contention last week with the loss to Ohio State.

Three hours before kickoff, many of the parking lots surrounding the stadium were empty. I’ve never parked closer. But, there’s still a pretty decent tailgating scene, despite the lackluster season for the to this point.

I was given a miniature U.S. flag by a member of the Army as I entered Memorial Stadium today. Tomorrow is Veterans Day and there are tributes to the armed forces all over the place.

ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast from the USS San Diego today in front of a crowd made up of service men and women.

Illinois players are on the field warming up in orange and blue camouflaged t-shirts. They look pretty cool.

Here’s some pregame reading to get you prepped.

Five keys to today’s game.

And a conversation with Corey Lewis, who recently returned to the field after missing two and a half seasons.

Minnesota at Illinois — Kickoff

The student section is pretty bare, there’s a chance it picks up a little.

The Illinois captains today are Terry Hawthorne, Zach Becker, Glenn Foster and Jon Davis.

There was a moment of silence before the game for the men and women who were killed in combat.

The Illini wonthe toss and deferred.Minnesota will receiver heading toward the south end zone.

Game time temperature is an unseasonable 74 degrees with the wind howling out of the south at 25 mph. That will be a factor.

Got some predictions from the folks in the press box. Spoiler alert, the all picked the Gophers.

Shannon Ryan from the Chicago Tribune says 27-21

Mark Tupper of the Decatur Herald and Review says 27-13

Jeremy Werner of Connect FM, ESPN-CU says 20-13

Fletcher Page from Scout.com says 27-14

David Mercer of the Associated Press said 23-13

Asmussen says 38-21.

I went with 30-20.

Minnesota at Illinois — 15 minutes before kickoff

The depth chart handed out lists Supo Sanni as the starter free safety but Gene Honda just announced Patrick Nixon-Youman as the starter alongside Earnest Thomas. Sanni has struggled of late, but expect that he will play plenty today.

There aren’t many better guys around than Sanni. He’s sharp and is going to make a lot of money one day in whatever he chooses to do.

Anyone watching this Northwestern-Michigan game? The ‘Cats have to win one of these close games, right?

That Purdue game that looked very, very winnable next week just got tougher as the Boilers are handling Iowa right now.

Asmussen points out there are not a lot of people here. The crowds have been better than expected in recent weeks and they’ve been late-arriving. No surprise, Tate is having an in-depth discussion with someone about the attendance right now.

Marching Illini set to take the field. So are the dads.

I’ll be back just before the opening kick.

Minnesota at Illinois — 30 minutes before kickoff

Jonathan Brown is in jeans today with his orange No. 45 jersey. The Butkus Award semifinalist won’t play today after suffering a shoulder injury in the first quarter last week against Ohio State. Freshman Mike Svetina will start at outside linebacker in his place. That’s two true freshman linebackers in the starting lineup for the Illini today. The outstanding Mason Monheim starts in the middle.

Svetina and Monheim, both Ohio natives, are going to make a fine duo during their time at Illinois.

Steve Hull is in uniform and going through drills. The safety missed last week's game with another shoulder injury. Tough man.

The Illinois dads are standing along the east sideline wearing their sons’ blue game jerseys. The dads are all wearing white ball caps, too.

There are a bunch of recruits in the North end zone. Illinois could probably use a couple of them on the field today.

Bob and I were just talking about candidates for All-State Player of the Year. Anybody got any suggestions out there?

There was a basketball game last night. John Groce got his first win as the Illinois coach. Read about it here.

Minnesota at Illinois — 60 minutes before kickoff

Bob Asmussen has just joined me here in the press box. Bob’s doing great. He’s bragging about his eye sight. It’s actually improved through all the health issues. Small victories.

The Illini specialists are on the field. Nick Immekus is kicking field goals.

Really looking forward to seeing Zach Becker on the field at linebacker for the first time in his career here. I saw Becker play linebacker at nearby St. Joseph-Ogden High School and he was a stud back then.

The Illini are wearing orange helmets with orange tops and white pants. I believe that’s the first time we’ve seen that combination this season.

Minnesota, which has won four straight games at Memorial Stadium, counters with gold pants, white tops and maroon helmets.

Jerry Kill will probably go with the Maroon face. Did you see that episode of “The Journey” when he was giving a pep talk? His face was the same color as the team uniform. Dude is intense.

Josh Ferguson is in uniform and appears ready to go after missing the game at Ohio State last week with a hip pointer.

Here’s Jim Rossow’s Big Ten Report for this week.

Loren Tate caught up with former Illinois coach Ron Turner. He weighs in on Tim Beckman’s first year.

Minnesota at Illinois — 90 minutes before kickoff

Good afternoon, Marcus Jackson joining you from Memorial Stadium on this beautiful fall day.

If you get the chance, get outside today, it’s 70 and sunny, a perfect day for baseball. Or, in this case, a perfect day for football. We’ve got a Minnesota team playing for bowl eligibility today and an Illinois squad playing for pride after being eliminated from bowl contention last week with the loss to Ohio State.

Three hours before kickoff, many of the parking lots surrounding the stadium were empty. I’ve never parked closer. But, there’s still a pretty decent tailgating scene, despite the lackluster season for the to this point.

I was given a miniature U.S. flag by a member of the Army as I entered Memorial Stadium today. Tomorrow is Veterans Day and there are tributes to the armed forces all over the place.

ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast from the USS San Diego today in front of a crowd made up of service men and women.

Illinois players are on the field warming up in orange and blue camouflaged t-shirts. They look pretty cool.

Here’s some pregame reading to get you prepped.

Five keys to today’s game.

And a conversation with Corey Lewis, who recently returned to the field after missing two and a half seasons.

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports

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will134 wrote on November 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm

for those of you wishing vic koenning was still here, his defense has given up 65 points to ga. tech so far in todays game

Dan Bloeme wrote on November 11, 2012 at 10:11 am
Profile Picture

I would love to have Vic Koenning and his staff still here. All I know and care is what he did with the Illini and the way they performed among the best defenses in the nation. This has to be one of the wost assemblages of coaches in the nation, starting with Beckman the Clown. All Thomas had to do is keep Koenning and pair him with one of the best available or rising offensive coordinators in the country and Illini would have been better not worse this year. This coaching may be the worst ever here at Illinois even surpassing Moeller time for the most horrendous football coaching and leadership ever.

griff507 wrote on November 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm

As has been the case for every game this year, the play calling for the offense has been terrible. We can't run the ball against anyone, so what do we try to do the first time we get first and goal, heck let's run the ball three times and then kick a field goal. Brilliant! Later, we have a third and twenty-two, so what do we dial up, a three yard pass! This season can't end soon enough. Minnesota is up 10-3 with 9 minutes to play, and they are now running the ball down out throats. Sad, really.

OKOMIS wrote on November 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm

We'll get 'um next time............

illinifaningeorgia wrote on November 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm

What a Sheethaase quarterback and team!!!

IlliniHimey wrote on November 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm

uck our university President, uck our A.D., and uck Beckman.


 


Total effing clown show.


 


Commits, please find other schools.  You HAVE to be able to find a better school than this one.

illinihimeyiswhiney wrote on November 11, 2012 at 2:11 pm

 

See my username. I missed your ranting Himey, despite the general uselessness of whining I'd far rather read this than the crap Moonpie posts. 

SEMOIllini wrote on November 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Another offensive gem.  Scheelhaase is a D-3 QB at best. His mistakes are killing this team. Fumbles, bad passes, missed receivers, poor decisions, etc---he sees nothing downfield and has no clue what the defense is showing him.  This team has no chance of winning a game against any BIG 10 opponent as long as Scheelhaase keeps trotting out.  I suggest Beckman forfeit the remaining games until he can find a replacement.

illiniart wrote on November 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Will somebody explain to me why we keep running a 180 pound guy into the middle of the line almost every time we have 3rd and goal from the two yard line? 

NS has not generated any offense in weeks.  Why is he still in there.  ROT has to either be hurt or in the doghouse.....or our coaches need a brain transplant.

griff507 wrote on November 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Coaches? Do we have any coaches? There is not one player that has gotten better this year! Coaches help kids get better, not get worse!

Congrats to my choice for coach, Kevin Sumlin. Great win. I do understand why he told MT thanks but no thanks! After all this the grave yard for coaching careers. No talent, and nobody wanting to come her that has talent. I have waited 50 plus years for Illinois to turn things around, it just is never going to happen. I am going to start rooting for a team with a good coach. In football anyway.

Go Texas A&M!

SEMOIllini wrote on November 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Texas A&M beats #1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa.  A&M's coach is Kevin Sumlin.

 Why does that name sound familiar?  Oh I know---AD Mike Thomas tried to hire Sumlin---but he shockingly chose the Aggies over the Fighting Illini.  Bet Sumlin is really regretting that decision now!!!!  

OKOMIS wrote on November 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Would we all have liked Sumlin to come, of course… but lets get real Sheelhaase is no Manziel… lets be totally honest … Sheehaase is no quarterback…. 

dave1956 wrote on November 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm

i feel sorry for Brian Barnhart and Kurt Kittner broadcasting these games and trying to sound enthusiastic when Sheelhause throws those 3yard passes.

SwifferFan wrote on November 11, 2012 at 6:11 am

At this point in the season it isn't realistic to expect magic to transport the Illini to a high level of football achievement.  As "they" say, "it is what it is."  If we accept that fact and assess, the bottom line is that an already weak offense was magnified against another weak offense (who has somehow managed to win 6 games).  I, personally, was pleased to see flashes of excellent defense against a mediocre offense.  However, there was enthusiam during those times and some good plays. 

One concern I have is one that's rarely mentioned.  The team seems to lose gas the last half of the game, especially the last quarter.  Body language tells me the team is "gassed."  Looking at the muscle definitions among the players and the team seems "weak" compared to teams who excel.  Good conditioning translates to better performance in the last part of the game.  Among the many issues this team has, I would add lack of conditioning.  This is one area where EVERY player can excel.  It requires discipline and a coach who demands it.

It's really sad when a program has reached the point of pity.  I, too, feel sorry for the announcers, the players, the coaches and the fans.  It pains me to read attacking comments against those who are already in their own pain.  It's got to be really tough in the locker room.  I sincerely hope Beckman can put an improved team on the field next year.  I'm feeling so bad right now, I don't want to turn on the TV to watch, much less attend, an Illinois game.  It's not that I don't care, it's that I can't watch (self-preservation).

houstonillini84 wrote on November 11, 2012 at 11:11 am

This is an unmitigated disaster. Now we are stuck with multiple years of Beckman's contract on top of Zook's contract, and its hard to see the situation getting better. Even if we fired our coordinators, what quality coordinator would want to come here? Beckman is a lame duck and UI is looking like a coaches graveyard.

We are in deep, deep trouble. We have gone from being a low-tier bowl team to being a laughing stock. And what's worse: there isnt any sign that gives us hope.

CecilColeman wrote on November 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm

This column has more fluff than a cotton candy machine.

No offense to Zack Becker, but my sister could have looked like a "stud" playing linebacker at St Joe Ogden against the likes of Momence, Iroquois West, Carterville and Paxton-Buckley-Loda. Junior high teams from Florida or Ohio or California or Texas could beat these schools.

The reason a defender was 'draped all over' Harris on the flea flicker is because (with the wind at his back) Little Nathan's pass was underthrown. The play should have been a touchdown.

Am I the only one who wonders why Coach Beckman and his staff wasted a time out in the first quarter since they could not get the play called in time (third and goal from the one)? That time out resulted in (SURPRISE!!) Nathan up the middle from the shotgun formation. Ooops, fourth and one, early fourth quarter, with the wind, at home, with no conference wins.............field goal equals three points. What a joke.

This was not a "battle of sluggish offfenses." One team had a sluggish offense; the other had No Offense.

One of the Chicago papers writes about (headline) The Fumbling, Bumbling Illini.Marcus Jackson writes as if he works for the Sports Information Office at the U of I.

Moonpie wrote on November 11, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Man, CecilColeman says it all and well: not only is it bad enough that the team is lousy, but the so-called Sleepy Gazoo "reporters" are fluff machines.


Just wait for Sage Tate's whitewashing to come. No doubt half his piece will focus on attendance -- or some obscure bit of sports trivia from the days of leather helmets.

houstonillini84 wrote on November 12, 2012 at 10:11 am

LOL, this from the guy who says none of this is Beckman's fault??!! By all means, lets dont focus on the guy in charge and this pathetic group of assistants, but instead lets talk about columnists... like the poor attendance (which is part of their reporting job after all) is their fault.

And personally, I would rather read about leather helmets and the days when UI football was fun (80s and early 90s) then think about today's pathetic program and this awful season.