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No. 24 Illinois defeats Minnesota 26-14, controls destiny for Big Ten West crown

Illinois is going bowling, that's a fact. The question is, are the Illini going to make a stop in Indianapolis for a Big Ten title first?
Credit: AP
Illinois running back Chase Brown carries the ball during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Minnesota, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The No. 24 Illinois Fighting Illini football team is undeniable after Saturday's 26-14 victory over Minnesota. The Illini continue etching their name into the 2022-23 college football season, after obtaining sole possession of first place in the West.

Chase Brown ran for 180 yards on 41 carries, and became the first running back to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards this season.

The Fighting Illini opened the scoring in the first five minutes of the game, when quarterback Tommy DeVito found running back Chase Brown for a 40-yard strike to put Illinois up 7-0. 

Minnesota's first drive tested the Illinois defense, marching 43 yards to the Illinois 37-yard line; but Illinois' Kendall Smith intercepted a Tanner Morgan pass to put Illinois back on the field.

Illinois dominated the line of scrimmage, logging 472 yards of total offense on Minnesota's second ranked scoring defense. The Illini offense logged 27 first downs, compared to Minnesota's 12. They were on the field for over 40 minutes, dominating the battle for possession.

Devito was exceptional, completing 25 of 32 passes for 252 yards and one touchdown. 

Illinois' defense was forceful, logging three interceptions, two sacks and five pass break-ups. Minnesota threw for just 38 passing yards, as they were held to only 12 first downs on 180 total yards. 

Illini kicker Fabrizio Pinton was perfect on the day, converting all four of his field goal attempts.

What's this win mean for Illinois?

Head Coach and Prophetstown, Illinois-native Bret Bielema, has now led the Illini over their top three opponents for the Big Ten West title.

Illinois has won five straight games since narrowly losing to Indiana, 24-21. The No. 24 Illini will almost certainly move up in Sunday's AP poll. 

Illinois obtains sole possession of first place in the West. They control their destiny as they pursue their first division crown.

The Illini will have a bye week before traveling to Nebraska in Week Nine. The remainder of their schedule is promising, with remaining games against Michigan State, Purdue and Northwestern. 

Illinois secures bowl eligibility for the first time since 2019, and in the least amount of games since they won their first six games in 2011.


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