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NCAA Game Summary - Michigan at Illinois



(Saturday, October 20th)

Final Score: (24) Michigan 27, Illinois 17

Champaign, IL (Sports Network) - Adrian Arrington hooked up with fellow wide receiver Mario Manningham on an 11-yard touchdown pass with just over eight minutes left in the game to put 24th-ranked Michigan ahead for good in a hard- fought 27-17 victory over Illinois.

Manningham finished with nine catches for 109 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Arrington hauled in three passes for 58 yards and a score for the undermanned Wolverines, who were without leading rusher Mike Hart for the duration of the game and starting quarterback Chad Henne for part of it.

Henne and freshman Ryan Mallett split the snaps following a first-quarter scare that forced Henne to the locker room with a shoulder injury, but the senior returned to complete 18-of-26 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns.

Sophomores Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor stepped in for Hart to power the ground game of the Wolverines (6-2, 4-0 Big Ten), who have won six straight since opening the season with non-conference losses to Appalachian State and Oregon. Brown carried 25 times for 113 yards, while Minor ran nine times for 18 yards.

Illinois quarterback Juice Williams led the Illini on a scoring drive to open the game, but finished 8-for-14 passing for just 70 yards, throwing the early touchdown and one interception. Backup Eddie McGee completed 6-of-12 passes for 46 yards, and also rushed three times for 12 yards.

Rashard Mendenhall had 18 carries for 85 yards for the Illini (5-3, 3-2), while Jacob Willis caught three passes for 40 yards and a TD. Illinois' dangerous freshman receiver, Arrelious Benn, caught five passes for 35 yards but disappeared in the second half and was held largely in check by the Michigan secondary.

"The bottom line is we can't make the mistakes we did against a good football team like that and expect to come out ahead," Illnois coach Ron Zook said. "We made mistakes and I thought with the exception of the last eight minutes, we played pretty well. We did some things wrong we need to improve on, but its part of learning and where we have to be as a program."

Michigan got the ball back early in the fourth quarter in a 17-17 game and moved into Illini territory, but had to punt when Henne overthrew a wide- open Manningham on a 3rd-and-16 play. Michigan then had a huge break go its way when Illinois' Kyle Hudson muffed a punt and Sean Griffin recovered at the Illini 13.

Michigan made it hurt two plays later when Arrington, lined up split left, reversed field and took a handoff from Henne, then found Manningham in the right corner of the end zone for a 24-17 lead with 8:12 to go.

"It was actually a crazy play because I didn't run that in practice all week," Arrington said. "I was thinking I was going to run it the whole time but then I saw Mario and I knew I had to throw it to him."

Williams was back in for McGee on the Illini's next possession, but the offense couldn't move the ball any more effectively. Michigan took over at the Illini 47 and went 25 yards to set up K.C. Lopeta from 39 yards out, thanks largely to a 21-yard pass play from Henne to Greg Matthews.

The Illini's last chance went wasted when Williams fired across the middle on fourth down for Benn, but the pass was slightly behind the receiver, hit his hands and fell harmlessly to the ground.

Illinois' Vontae Davis returned the opening kickoff of the game 63 yards to the Michigan 33 yard-line, and Williams wasted no time capitalizing on the prime field position. After a seven-yard run by Mendenhall on first down, Williams drew the Michigan secondary up with a pretty play-action fake and then hit Willis down the seam for a 26-yard score and early 7-0 lead.

Henne was intercepted to halt Michigan's initial drive, then was replaced by Mallett on the next possession. Mallett led the Wolverines 44 yards for a 25- yard Lopata field goal with just over a minute to go in the first.

But the Illini responded with an even more impressive drive on their first second-quarter possession. Beginning at their own 10-yard line, Williams and the offense dissected the Michigan defense with an evenly distributed attack. Mendenhall rushed three straight times, then Williams hit Benn for completions of nine and eight yards. Williams broke off a 23-yard run to the Michigan 35, and five plays later Daniel Dufrene scampered around the left end for an eight-yard touchdown.

Henne returned on the following Michigan drive and promptly hit Manningham on an out pattern and found Arrington on a skinny post for 39 yards to the Illini 33. Two plays later, Henne hit Manningham for an eight-yard TD to cut the lead to 14-10 with just over eight minutes to go in the half.

The Illini went three-and-out, and Henne responded by marching the Wolverines 81 yards in 14 plays, capped by a 14-yard hookup with Arrington to take a 17-14 lead. The drive totaled more than five minutes and totally drained Illinois of whatever momentum it may have had heading into halftime.

Mallett came back on in the third quarter and led U of M down the field for what looked like a positive drive, but the freshman fumbled a snap at the Illinois 28, and the Wolverines came away with nothing.

Illinois took over with McGee under center in place of Williams, and the scatback scrambled for a 16-yard pickup, then handed to Mendenhall for gains of 13 and 12. Four plays later, Jason Reda knocked a 38-yard field goal off the upright and in to tie the game at 17.

Michigan got a big play on its ensuing drive when Mallett, stumbling out of the snap, underhanded a toss to Brown, who busted it outside for a 30-yard pickup inside the Illini 30. Minor then went left for a bruising 11-yard run, but two plays later Mallett made an ill-advised throw across the field that was intercepted by Justin Sanders inside the five.

Game Notes

Illinois was penalized 10 times for 107 yards, compared with four Michigan penalties for 35 yards...The Wolverines outgained the Illini 343 to 253, although Illinois totaled 137 yards on the ground to Michigan's 115...This was the first meeting between the two schools since 2004, and the Wolverines now hold a 66-21-2 advantage in the all-time series.

10/21 02:51:30 ET

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