Gophers lose to Illinois 27-26; last-minute touchdown mars Minnesota’s Big Ten West hopes

Alternative knocked — twice — for the Gophers on Saturday afternoon even earlier than they took the sphere at Huntington Financial institution Stadium for his or her recreation towards Illinois.

Losses by Nebraska and Wisconsin, two of the three different groups tied with Minnesota atop the Large Ten West Division standings, gave the Gophers an opportunity to take management of the division race.

As an alternative, they let the chance slip away.

Backup quarterback John Paddock hit Isaiah Williams for a 46-yard landing cross with 50 seconds left within the fourth quarter, giving Illinois a 27-26 win over the Gophers, who had rallied to take the lead with 5:53 to play.

“We weren’t capable of end the sport on offense; we weren’t capable of end the sport on protection,” Gophers coach P.J. Fleck stated. “And that begins with me, 100%. We weren’t capable of get it completed.”

The loss dropped the Gophers (5-4) to 3-3 within the Large Ten, and they’re tied for second place within the West with Wisconsin and Nebraska. Iowa, a 10-7 winner over Northwestern, leads the West at 4-2.

Illinois (4-5, 2-4) acquired the ball with 2:47 left within the fourth quarter, trailing 26-21. The Gophers had the Illini backed as much as their 15, dealing with fourth-and-11 with quarterback Luke Altmyer injured on a sack. In stepped Paddock, who instantly hit Williams for a 22-yard acquire to remain alive. A 17-yard cross to Pat Bryant moved the ball to the Gophers 46.

The Gophers referred to as a timeout to settle issues down, however that did not assist. Out of the break, Paddock discovered Williams — who sprinted previous linebacker Cody Lindenberg and exploited a seam between Aidan Gousby and Tyler Nubin — for the winner, gorgeous the gang of 42,906.

“That is simply miscommunication,” Nubin stated. “It is one thing that occurred a number of occasions in that recreation. That is not us.”

The Gophers acquired the ball again with 50 seconds left however could not acquire a primary down.

The sport regarded as if it turned the Gophers’ manner earlier within the fourth quarter when massive performs by each the offense and protection helped forge a lead.

Lindenberg compelled a fumble that cornerback Justin Walley recovered on the Illinois 34. Two performs later, Athan Kaliakmanis hit Daniel Jackson for a 31-yard landing cross in the correct nook of the tip zone with 5:53 left to take a 26-21 lead. Elijah Spencer’s two-point conversion cross to Kaliakmanis on a Philly Particular play fell incomplete, and that will show to be massive later.

After Nubin intercepted Altmyer with 4:04 to play, the Gophers seemed to be in line for a victory.

One drawback: The offense went three-and-out, with Kaliakmanis throwing excessive and incomplete to tight finish Nick Kallerup on third-and-4 from the Minnesota 45.

“I’ve acquired to throw a greater ball,” stated Kaliakmanis, who accomplished 11 of twenty-two passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns however was solely 2-for-11 for 37 yards after halftime. “I rushed it, and there was no must rush it. … It is a completely different story if I full that ball.”

That gave the Illini the ball again, and Paddock made Minnesota pay.

“We made errors,” Lindenberg stated. “The small issues are magnified in video games like these.”

That was the case from the disastrous begin for the Gophers.

Sean Tyler — who misplaced a fumble on the second play from scrimmage the earlier week towards Michigan State — fumbled the opening kickoff, and Illinois recovered on the 20. Altmyer hit tight finish Tip Reiman for a 15-yard landing cross for a 7-0 lead 1:28 into the sport.

Kaliakmanis threw TD passes to Spencer and tight finish Brevyn Spann-Ford within the first half, and Altmyer linked with Williams for a rating.

The Gophers took a 17-14 lead on Dragan Kesich’s 36-yard area purpose with 1:20 left within the second quarter. Minnesota reached the Illinois 22 earlier than dealing with third-and-9. Kaliakmanis handed off to Jordan Nubin, who gained 4 yards, drawing some boos from followers who needed the Gophers to be extra aggressive by passing.

Illinois acquired the ball to start out the third quarter, and the Gophers acquired a takeaway when Jah Joyner sacked Altmyer for a 14-yard loss and Chris Collins recovered the QB’s fumble on the 12.

The Gophers, nonetheless, could not money in absolutely. Kesich’s 34-yard area purpose made it 20-14.

Illinois took a 21-20 lead with 10:16 left within the third quarter when Altmyer hit operating again Kaden Feagin on a swing cross and Feagin outraced the Gophers protection 54 yards for a landing.

“When it counted down the stretch,” Fleck stated, “we weren’t capable of end the sport.”

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