No. 3 Michigan edges Illinois to remain undefeated originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
It was a Moody day at the Big House, and Michigan came out of it with its undefeated record intact.
The No. 3 Wolverines edged Illinois 19-17 at home on Saturday thanks to four field goals from Jake Moody. The reigning Lou Groza Award winner showed why he is the top kicker in the country in the final seconds with a go-ahead, 35-yard kick to put Michigan in the lead for good.
Offense was hard to come by in the first half for both teams. Michigan entered halftime with a 7-3 lead with the lone score coming from star running back Blake Corum.
Illinois junior Chase Brown entered Saturday’s game as the nation’s leading rusher, and he kept up with Corum at Michigan. Brown scored two rushing touchdowns in the third quarter to help the Illini build a 17-10 lead and finished the afternoon with 140 yards on the ground.
While Brown put Illinois in front, Moody and Michigan did just enough to claw back.
After an early fourth-quarter field goal, the Wolverines had a pair of golden opportunities to take the lead with less than five minutes remaining. They had to settle for a third Moody field goal and a 17-16 deficit, though, after squandering a pair of golden opportunities to go in front.
Michigan quickly forced a punt on the ensuing Illinois drive and got the ball back with 2:10 left in the fourth. The team needed a fourth-and-3 conversion to keep its chances alive and moved the ball further down field thanks to a defensive pass interference call. Jim Harbaugh turned to Moody one last time, and the kicker came through with a 35-yard make to put Michigan up 19-17 with nine seconds remaining.
With the win, the Wolverines at 11-0 for the first time in 25 years. However, they have their toughest test of the season coming up.
Michigan will visit the Horseshoe next Saturday against rival Ohio State, the No. 2 team in the country. The winner of that game will earn a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Dec. 3. Corum’s status for that contest will be key after the star runner suffered an apparent leg injury in the second quarter.
Illinois, meanwhile, will hit the road again to take on Northwestern in its regular season finale.