NCAAF: Michigan State returns to win column with upset of Illinois
Payton Thorne went 19-of-29 passing for 182 yards and two touchdowns to help lead Michigan State to a 23-15 upset win over No. 14 Illinois on Saturday in Champaign, Ill.
Jalen Berger rushed for 81 yards on 15 carries for Michigan State (4-5, 2-4 Big Ten), which won on the road for the first time in four tries.
Tommy DeVito went 25-of-37 passing for two touchdowns and Chase Brown rushed for 136 yards on 33 carries for Illinois (7-2, 4-2), which saw a six-game winning streak snapped.
The Fighting Illini went 1-for-6 on fourth-down conversions.
Illinois took a 7-0 lead with 8:03 remaining in the first quarter on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Devito to Isaiah Williams, who caught a short pass, got free down the sideline and maneuvered around the defense to the end zone.
Michigan State cut Illinois’ lead to 7-3 with 1:36 remaining in the first after a 21-yard field goal by Ben Patton.
The Spartans then took a 9-7 lead with 10:21 left in the second quarter on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Thorne to Tre Mosley, and then grabbed a 16-7 lead on an 11-yard touchdown run by Jarek Broussard with 5:45 remaining in the third quarter.
The score was set up after Michigan State took over on the Illinois 29-yard line after a punt by Illinois’ Hugh Robertson hit the back of one of his linemen.
The Spartans then took a 23-7 lead with 2:57 left in the third quarter on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Thorne to Jayden Reed.
Illinois cut Michigan State’s lead to 23-15 with 14:27 remaining in the game on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Devito to Williams and subsequent two-point conversion pass from DeVito to Tip Reiman.
Illinois drove to Michigan State’s 20-yard line in the fourth quarter, but was stopped on downs on a fourth-and-2 with 8:11 remaining.
–Field Level Media