Scores

Final

Ball State 17

(5-4, 3-2 away)

Illinois 28

(6-3, 4-2 home)

12:00 PM ET, October 27, 2007

Memorial Stadium (Champaign, IL), Champaign, IL

1 2 3 4 T
BALL 0 3 14 017
ILL 0 7 14 728

Top Performers

Passing: N. Davis (BALL) - 167 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: R. Mendenhall (ILL) - 28 CAR, 189 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: A. Benn (PSU) - 4 REC, 97 YDS

Illinois 28, Ball St. 17

Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois secured bowl eligibility for the first time since the 2001 season, coming from behind to beat Ball State 28-17 on Saturday behind 189 yards and a pair of touchdowns from Rashard Mendenhall.

The Illini (6-3, 3-2) led just 7-3 at halftime and trailed 10-7 during the third quarter.

But Mendenhall and quarterback Juice Williams ground out the win for Illinois.

Mendenhall had just over 100 yards by halftime and went over 1,000 yards for the season.

Mendenhall touched the ball once and gained nothing during Illinois' first two possessions, both three-and-outs.

His first touchdown, a 2-yard run up the middle, came early in the second quarter and put Illinois up 7-0.

His last one was the game-winner.

Mendenhall took a handoff from Williams, found nothing inside, then bounced out around the right end and into open space before slicing into the corner of the end zone.

The extra point made the score 21-10.

Williams was just 7-of-15 passing with 145 yards and two interceptions. But he ran the ball 17 times for 99 yards and two touchdowns.

Quarterback Nate Davis completed 16 of 33 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown for Ball State (5-4, 3-2).

The Cardinals took advantage of one of Mendenhall's few mistakes to take their only lead.

Williams threw a third-quarter screen pass to Mendenhall that popped out of the running back's hands and right to sprinting Ball State linebacker Mike Dorulla. Dorulla ran untouched into the end zone to give the Cardinals a 10-7 edge less than 2 minutes into the third quarter.

But Illinois quickly answered, with Williams diving into the end zone on a 10-yard keeper 3 minutes later. Illinois never trailed again.

The Illini haven't been to a bowl game since the 2002 Sugar Bowl, a loss to LSU that capped a 10-2 season. That was Illinois' last winning season.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ESPNChicago.com 

Team Stat Comparison

 
BALL
ILL
1st Downs1922
Total Yards337469
Passing167145
Rushing170324
Penalties6-523-39
3rd Down Conversions8-176-13
4th Down Conversions0-00-0
Turnovers13
Possession28:5931:01

Passing Leaders

Ball StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Davis16/331675.111
IllinoisC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Williams7/151459.702

Rushing Leaders

Ball StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Davis12645.3046
Edmonds18633.5011
IllinoisCARYDSAVGTDLG
Mendenhall281896.8230
Williams17995.8222

Receiving Leaders

Ball StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Hill45614.0124
Love44511.3014
IllinoisRECYDSAVGTDLG
Benn49724.3056
Gamble13030.0030

Scoring Summary

SECOND QUARTERBALLILL
TD10:03Rashard Mendenhall 2 Yd Run (Jason Reda Kick)
Drive: 10 plays, 77 yds, 5:07
07
FG03:51Jake Hogue 22 Yd
Drive: 17 plays, 65 yds, 6:12
37
THIRD QUARTERBALLILL
TD13:05Mike Dorulla 36 Yd Interception Return (Jake Hogue Kick) 107
TD10:16Juice Williams 10 Yd Run (Jason Reda Kick)
Drive: 7 plays, 65 yds, 2:49
1014
TD07:06Rashard Mendenhall 30 Yd Run (Jason Reda Kick)
Drive: 3 plays, 58 yds, :57
1021
TD03:01Darius Hill 24 Yd Pass From Nate Davis (Jake Hogue Kick)
Drive: 10 plays, 76 yds, 4:05
1721
FOURTH QUARTERBALLILL
TD11:16Juice Williams 3 Yd Run (Jason Reda Kick)
Drive: 5 plays, 80 yds, 1:30
1728