Scores

Final

Illinois 44

(7-3, 4-2 Big Ten)

Minnesota 17

(1-9, 0-6 Big Ten)

8:00 PM ET, November 3, 2007

The Metrodome, MINNEAPOLIS, MN

1 2 3 4 T
ILL 14 20 3 744
MINN 0 10 0 717

Top Performers

Passing: A. Weber (MINN) - 208 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: R. Mendenhall (ILL) - 17 CAR, 201 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: E. Wheelwright (MINN) - 9 REC, 123 YDS, 1 TD

Illinois 44, Minnesota 17

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Rashard Mendenhall ran for 201 yards, Juice Williams had his best all-around game of the season, and Illinois routed defenseless Minnesota 44-17 on Saturday night.

Mendenhall rushed for two touchdowns, and Illinois (7-3, 4-2) pulled into sole ownership of third place in the Big Ten after racking up 655 yards on offense.

Up next is a trip to play top-ranked Ohio State, by far the biggest test for coach Ron Zook in this turnaround season by the Illini, who won one conference game over his first two years.

This wasn't much of a tuneup, though. Minnesota (1-9, 0-6) has yielded more yards than any of the other 118 teams in major college football, and this was as bad as the defense has been during this embarrassing season: the total package of missed tackles, loose coverage and no pass rush.

So much for the homecoming game.

Williams put the soft touch on his passes that he'll need if Illinois is going to have a chance against the unbeaten Buckeyes next week. His elusiveness and speed have never been in question, but accuracy has not been the sophomore's strong suit.

Williams completed a career-high 14 passes out of 21 attempts for 207 yards, the two scores, and one interception. He carried 18 times for 133 yards and one touchdown, too.

Adam Weber threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage, setting up Williams for a 47-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Willis on the next possession. Another perfectly thrown ball by Williams on the next series went for a 22-yard score to Jeff Cumberland, giving Illinois a 14-0 lead.

Zook didn't let up, either. The Illini had the ball at their own 37 with 30 seconds left before the half, and they hurried down the field for the first of three field goals by Jason Reda.

They kept the pressure on into the fourth quarter, when Mendenhall burst through the middle and shed several tackles on fourth-and-1 at his own 49 to gain 13 yards. He scored on a 33-yard run three plays later to make it 44-10 with 10:25 left.

Though he tried to shrug off the significance this week, Minnesota coach Tim Brewster was facing his alma mater -- the school he had 64 catches and 688 yards for as a senior tight end in the 1983 season that finished with a trip to the Rose Bowl.

The Gophers are a long, long way from there, despite Brewster's promise to take them there eventually when he succeeded Glen Mason this winter.

Weber completed 18 of 31 passes for 208 yards. He rushed for one score and passed for another. Using a spread scheme that doesn't drain the clock like the power running attack did under Mason, the depleted defense was worn out even more.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
ILL
MINN
1st Downs2718
Total Yards655337
Passing207242
Rushing44895
Penalties6-614-36
3rd Down Conversions8-127-15
4th Down Conversions1-10-3
Turnovers21
Possession30:2229:38

Passing Leaders

IllinoisC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Williams14/212079.921
MinnesotaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Weber18/312086.711

Rushing Leaders

IllinoisCARYDSAVGTDLG
Mendenhall1720111.8264
Williams181337.4114
MinnesotaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Bennett12352.909
Weber9303.3129

Receiving Leaders

IllinoisRECYDSAVGTDLG
Willis26532.5147
Cumberland45313.3122
MinnesotaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Wheelwright912313.7134
Decker36521.7033

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERILLMINN
TD13:04Jacob Willis 47 Yd Pass From Juice Williams (Jason Reda Kick)
Drive: 5 plays, 56 yds, 1:41
70
TD04:03Jeff Cumberland 22 Yd Pass From Juice Williams (Jason Reda Kick)
Drive: 11 plays, 88 yds, 4:16
140
SECOND QUARTERILLMINN
FG12:32Joel Monroe 36 Yd
Drive: 7 plays, 13 yds, 2:22
143
TD11:30Rashard Mendenhall 64 Yd Run (Jason Reda Kick)
Drive: 2 plays, 73 yds, :56
213
TD09:36Ernest Wheelwright 15 Yd Pass From Adam Weber (Joel Monroe Kick)
Drive: 4 plays, 48 yds, 1:47
2110
TD05:58Juice Williams 7 Yd Run (Jason Reda Kick)
Drive: 9 plays, 77 yds, 3:33
2810
FG01:22Jason Reda 47 Yd
Drive: 5 plays, 38 yds, 1:05
3110
FG00:00Jason Reda 37 Yd
Drive: 5 plays, 44 yds, :28
3410
THIRD QUARTERILLMINN
FG10:49Jason Reda 51 Yd
Drive: 9 plays, 46 yds, 4:11
3710
FOURTH QUARTERILLMINN
TD10:25Rashard Mendenhall 33 Yd Run (Jason Reda Kick)
Drive: 10 plays, 73 yds, 4:44
4410
TD07:14Adam Weber 29 Yd Run (Joel Monroe Kick)
Drive: 6 plays, 67 yds, 3:08
4417