Champaign, IL (Sports Network) - Donnell Kirkwood rushed for 152 yards and two
touchdowns as the Minnesota Golden Gophers defeated the Illinois Fighting
Illini, 17-3, in a Big Ten showdown at Memorial Stadium.
Philip Nelson started under center for the Gophers (6-4, 2-4 Big Ten) and
completed just 9-of-15 passes for 78 yards. With the win, Minnesota is now
bowl eligible for the first time since 2009.
For Illinois (2-8, 0-6), Nathan Scheelhaase threw for 175 yards on 15-of-23
passing and Darius Millines caught four balls for 51 yards. The Illini have
lost seven straight games.
Illinois put together an impressive nine-play, 89-yard drive early in the
opening quarter, but it stalled in the red zone and had to settle for a 20-
yard field goal from Nick Immekus to take a 3-0 lead.
Minnesota answered in the second quarter with a 20-yard field goal of its own
by Jordan Wettstein, but that was all for the first half scoring. The teams
combined for seven punts in the first half.
With under three minutes to play in the third quarter, Minnesota finally
struck with the game's first touchdown as Kirkwood rushed into the end zone
from three yards out.
Kirkwood added another touchdown, this time from 12 yards out, in the final
two minutes to put the game out of reach.
Illinois was plagued by two lost fumbles on the afternoon, while Minnesota
played turnover-free football.
The Sports Network