Drive Chart
ILL
MINN

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McCrary, Smith lead Minnesota over Illinois 24-17

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Using just two different plays, Minnesota marched down the field midway through the fourth quarter against Illinois on Saturday. Kobe McCrary carried the ball six times. Rodney Smith ran five times during a grinding, 12-play drive.

The Gophers finally stuck with the run and ran over the young Illini.

McCrary ran for 153 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, and Smith added 103 yards rushing for Minnesota as the Gophers beat Illinois 24-17 victory.

Linebacker Jon Celestin returned an interception for a touchdown in the fourth to provide the winning margin for Minnesota (4-3, 1-3 Big Ten). The Gophers ran for 292 yards as a team and held the Illini (2-5, 0-4) to 282 total yards.

''I was really proud of how Kobe put people on his shoulders, literally,'' Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck said. ''That last touchdown, that's all want-to, heart, grit, toughness and he finished the drive.''

''That was an impressive drive by our offense. We only ran two plays and we just went right down the field. That was a statement for me that, `OK, we need to go back to who we are.'''

With 10:06 remaining in the game, the Gophers went 75 yards in 12 plays, all runs, and went ahead 17-10 on McCrary's 4-yard touchdown run. Filling in for an injured Shannon Brooks as part of Minnesota's split backfield, McCrary set a career-high with 24 carries.

The senior back entered the game with just 115 yards rushing on the season; 107 coming when he filled in for Brooks in the third game of the year.

''My mindset was to make sure the running backs didn't skip a beat,'' McCrary said. ''I knew I had to step in and fill his role. We came in the game and we had to dominate the line of scrimmage. We had to run the ball. Coach got me prepared, so I just ran hard like I did.''

Illinois sophomore quarterback Jeff George Jr. was 18-of-23 passing for 128 yards with a late touchdown pass to freshman receiver Ricky Smalling. Freshman running back Ra'Von Bonner had 18 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown.

The Illini scored 10 points off turnovers, creating three on the day and finishing a plus-1 in turnover-margin.

''I think we had three takeaways and whenever you can take the ball away it's a good thing,'' Illinois coach Lovie Smith said. ''I thought the defense did some good things but the way we started, and the drive play for them to go up seven, is disappointing.''

CROFT'S SECOND CHANCE

Minnesota opened the game with a 72-yard drive for a touchdown with quarterback Demry Croft throwing an 8-yard touchdown to Tyler Johnson.

Croft earned the starting job over senior Conor Rhoda after sparking the Gophers with three fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Johnson in last week's loss to No. 18 Michigan State. The sophomore quarterback was 5-of-15 passing for 47 yards on Saturday and threw two interceptions.

''I thought at times he looked a little bit hurried and he was speeding up the game,'' Fleck said. ''We have to get him to slow down. When he slows down and focuses, he is a really good quarterback. You saw that last week.''

TWO FOR ONE

Illinois split time at quarterback between George and freshman Cam Thomas. Thomas received his first playing time of the season, rushing for 79 yards and going 2-of-4 passing for 33 yards and throwing the clinching interception to Celestin with 4:11 remaining.

''By playing two, we felt like we needed more at the quarterback position and we felt like both guys could give us something,'' Smith said. ''In the end with our passing game, where we are right now, we thought Jeff would give us the better option. But normal down and distance, we wanted to get Cam some reps and see what he can do.''

THE TAKEAWAY

Illinois: A missed opportunity on Saturday leaves Illinois still looking for its first Big Ten victory and Thomas became the 21st true freshman to play for the Illini this season. The least experienced team in college football with 14 true freshmen starters, Illinois is still experimenting, particularly on offense after interchanging two quarterbacks for the first time.

Minnesota: Getting Fleck's first win in the Big Ten offered some relief for the Gophers, and perhaps they found something to build on with McCrary and the rushing attack. Fleck said McCrary has earned more playing time. Minnesota should look to build on the success running the ball.

UP NEXT

Illinois: The Illini return home next Saturday for their homecoming against No. 5 Wisconsin (7-0, 4-0).

Minnesota: The Gophers travel to Iowa (4-3, 1-3) next week.

---

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Copyright 2017 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 0:23
43-C.McLaughlin extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
17
24
Touchdown 0:23
3-J.George complete to 4-R.Smalling. 4-R.Smalling runs 14 yards for a touchdown.
12
plays
85
yds
03:48
pos
16
24
Point After TD 4:11
38-E.Carpenter extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
10
24
Touchdown 4:20
10-C.Thomas incomplete. Intended for 19-L.Dorsey INTERCEPTED by 13-J.Celestin at ILL 31. 13-J.Celestin runs 31 yards for a touchdown.
1
plays
31
yds
0:00
pos
10
23
Point After TD 4:20
38-E.Carpenter extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
10
17
Touchdown 4:20
22-K.McCrary runs 4 yards for a touchdown.
12
plays
75
yds
05:46
pos
10
16
Field Goal 10:10
43-C.McLaughlin 28 yards Field Goal is Good.
7
plays
33
yds
03:59
pos
10
10
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 8:37
38-E.Carpenter 20 yards Field Goal is Good.
11
plays
65
yds
04:12
pos
7
10
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 6:05
43-C.McLaughlin extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
7
Touchdown 6:05
21-R.Bonner runs 6 yards for a touchdown.
2
plays
15
yds
00:39
pos
6
7
Point After TD 11:53
38-E.Carpenter extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
0
7
Touchdown 11:53
11-D.Croft complete to 6-T.Johnson. 6-T.Johnson runs 8 yards for a touchdown.
8
plays
72
yds
03:02
pos
0
6
Team Stats
1st Downs 15 22
Rushing 7 19
Passing 8 2
Penalty 0 1
3rd Down Conv 8-16 3-11
4th Down Conv 0-1 0-0
Total Net Yards 268 339
Total Plays 63 70
Avg Gain 4.3 4.8
Net Yards Rushing 121 292
Rush Attempts 36 55
Avg Rush Yards 3.4 5.3
Net Yards Passing 147 47
Comp. - Att. 20-27 5-15
Yards Per Pass 5.4 3.1
Sacked - Yards Lost 3-14 0-0
Penalties - Yards 5-45 3-12
Touchdowns 2 3
Rushing TDs 1 1
Passing TDs 1 1
Other 0 1
Turnovers 2 3
Fumbles - Lost 1-1 1-1
Int. Thrown 1 2
Punts - Avg 5-52.4 5-49.4
Return Yards 68 78
Punts - Returns 0-0 2-21
Kickoffs - Returns 2-49 1-26
Int. - Returns 2-19 1-31
Kicking 3/4 4/5
Extra Points 2/2 3/3
Field Goals 1/2 1/2
Safeties 0 0
1234T
Illinois 2-5 7001017
Minnesota 4-3 7031424
147 PASS YDS 47
121 RUSH YDS 292
268 TOTAL YDS 339
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
J. George Jr. 3 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
78.3% 128 1 0 139.4
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
56.3% 893 4 7 114.2
J. George Jr. 18/23 128 1 0
C. Thomas 10 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
50% 33 0 1 69.3
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
50% 33 0 1 69.3
C. Thomas 2/4 33 0 1
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
C. Thomas 10 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
10 79 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
10 79 0
C. Thomas 10 79 0 21
R. Bonner 21 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
18 57 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
67 202 4
R. Bonner 18 57 1 9
K. Foster 22 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 10 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
13 31 0
K. Foster 1 10 0 10
R. Corbin 2 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 -10 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
14 60 0
R. Corbin 2 -10 0 -4
J. George Jr. 3 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 -13 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
12 11 0
J. George Jr. 4 -13 0 1
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
R. Smalling 4 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
8 71 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
22 343 2
R. Smalling 8 71 1 22
D. Thieman 8 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 30 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
8 119 0
D. Thieman 2 30 0 25
T. Davis 15 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 27 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
7 100 0
T. Davis 1 27 0 27
M. Turner 11 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 17 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
23 197 0
M. Turner 4 17 0 13
K. Foster 22 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 9 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 9 0
K. Foster 1 9 0 9
C. Green 5 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 8 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
8 75 0
C. Green 1 8 0 8
R. Corbin 2 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 4 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
5 7 0
R. Corbin 3 4 0 8
L. Dorsey 19 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
11 189 1
L. Dorsey 0 0 0 0
R. Bonner 21 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 5 0
R. Bonner 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
B. Williams 4 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
12-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
12-1 1 0.0
B. Williams 12-1 0.0 0
S. Green 7 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
10-2 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
10-2 1 0.0
S. Green 10-2 0.0 1
J. Jones 2 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-2 1 0.0
J. Jones 7-2 0.0 0
C. Watkins 31 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 1 0.0
C. Watkins 4-0 0.0 1
J. Crawford 5 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
J. Crawford 4-0 0.0 0
B. Roundtree 97 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
B. Roundtree 4-1 0.0 0
N. Hobbs 8 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
N. Hobbs 3-1 0.0 0
T. Odenigbo 94 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
T. Odenigbo 3-2 0.0 0
J. Williams 32 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
J. Williams 2-0 0.0 0
A. Shogbonyo 52 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
A. Shogbonyo 2-2 0.0 0
O. Carney Jr. 99 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
O. Carney Jr. 2-1 0.0 0
T. Oliver 96 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
T. Oliver 1-1 0.0 0
I. Gay 92 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
I. Gay 1-0 0.0 0
K. Jackson 95 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
K. Jackson 1-1 0.0 0
J. Milan 55 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
J. Milan 0-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
C. McLaughlin 43 K
IN-GAME FG XP
1/2 2/2
SEASON FG XP
10/13 10/10
C. McLaughlin 1/2 28 2/2 5
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
B. Hayes 14 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
5 52.4 2
SEASON NO AVG IN20
36 41.8 2
B. Hayes 5 52.4 2 59
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
K. Foster 22 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 24.0 24 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
11 19.1 24 0
K. Foster 1 24.0 24 0
D. Brown 25 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 25.0 25 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
1 25.0 25 0
D. Brown 1 25.0 25 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
D. Croft 11 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
33.3% 47 1 2 55.0
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
48.9% 273 4 3 113.0
D. Croft 5/15 47 1 2
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
K. McCrary 22 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
24 153 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
51 268 4
K. McCrary 24 153 1 26
R. Smith 1 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
19 103 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
138 545 2
R. Smith 19 103 0 14
D. Croft 11 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
11 32 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
25 159 1
D. Croft 11 32 0 8
P. Howard 25 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 4 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
1 4 0
P. Howard 1 4 0 4
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
T. Johnson 6 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 27 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
27 499 7
T. Johnson 2 27 1 19
K. Kieft 42 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 12 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 17 0
K. Kieft 1 12 0 12
R. Smith 1 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 8 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
9 57 0
R. Smith 2 8 0 5
P. Howard 25 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
6 62 0
P. Howard 0 0 0 0
E. Carter 9 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
3 77 0
E. Carter 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
T. Barber 41 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
10-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
10-1 1 0.0
T. Barber 10-1 0.0 0
A. Ayinde 4 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
9-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
9-0 1 0.0
A. Ayinde 9-0 0.0 0
J. Celestin 13 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-0 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-0 1 0.0
J. Celestin 5-0 0.0 1
K. Martin 21 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-0 1 0.0
K. Martin 5-0 0.0 0
Ja. Huff 2 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 2 0.0
Ja. Huff 4-1 0.0 0
C. Coughlin 45 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 2.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 2.0
C. Coughlin 4-0 2.0 0
D. McGhee 8 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 1 0.0
D. McGhee 3-1 0.0 0
M. Jackson 93 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
M. Jackson 2-1 0.0 0
G. Moore 19 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
G. Moore 2-0 0.0 0
N. Umlor 87 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
N. Umlor 2-1 0.0 0
K. Thomas 31 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
K. Thomas 1-0 0.0 0
W. DeLattiboudere 46 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 1.0
W. DeLattiboudere 1-1 1.0 0
S. Richardson 96 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
S. Richardson 1-0 0.0 0
J. Harris 26 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
J. Harris 0-1 0.0 0
B. Cashman 36 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
B. Cashman 0-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
E. Carpenter 38 K
IN-GAME FG XP
1/2 3/3
SEASON FG XP
10/14 23/23
E. Carpenter 1/2 20 3/3 6
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
R. Santoso 18 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
5 49.4 2
SEASON NO AVG IN20
32 45.0 2
R. Santoso 5 49.4 2 61
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
R. Smith 1 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 26.0 26 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
2 33.0 26 0
R. Smith 1 26.0 26 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
D. Hmielewski 24 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 10.5 13 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
2 10.5 13 0
D. Hmielewski 2 10.5 13 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:47 ILL 35 0:55 3 3 Punt
8:55 ILL 27 1:52 3 8 Punt
6:44 MINN 15 0:39 2 15 TD
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
4:01 ILL 20 3:39 11 56 FG Miss
11:08 ILL 10 3:16 6 17 Punt
5:38 ILL 15 2:00 4 18 Fumble
0:06 ILL 20 0:00 1 -2 Halftime
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 ILL 25 2:04 4 5 Punt
8:27 ILL 28 1:17 3 6 Punt
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
3:02 ILL 22 2:46 8 48 Downs
14:09 MINN 43 3:59 7 37 FG
4:20 ILL 25 0:00 1 75 INT
4:11 ILL 25 3:48 12 75 TD
0:03 ILL 20 0:00 1 -15 Game
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:55 MINN 28 3:02 8 72 TD
10:45 MINN 13 1:43 3 8 Punt
6:53 MINN 6 0:00 2 0 Fumble
6:05 MINN 25 1:55 5 14 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:37 MINN 24 2:21 5 17 Punt
7:42 MINN 29 1:56 4 18 Punt
3:29 ILL 33 3:18 10 21 FG Miss
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:49 MINN 33 4:12 11 65 FG
7:03 MINN 24 3:50 8 -2 INT
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:23 MINN 30 0:06 3 0 INT
10:06 MINN 25 5:46 12 75 TD
0:22 MINN 47 0:13 3 6 Punt