Illinois turned to its much-criticized defense Saturday for a late touchdown and a defensive stand that delivered a 28-24 win over Minnesota.
Illinois (4-4, 1-3 Big Ten) trailed 24-21 with 6:33 left in the game when linebacker T.J. Neal stripped the ball from running back David Cobb. Cornerback V'Angelo Bentley grabbed the ball at the Gopher 12 and ran it in for a touchdown.
Illinois then held the Gophers four times at the Illini 26 with less than two minutes to play.
Cobb finished with 118 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. But Illinois held him in check for almost three quarters.
The Illini defense came into the game giving up 484.6 yards and 35.9 points a game.
Illinois led 14-0 in the first quarter. But the Gophers (6-2, 3-1) put up 21 third-quarter points to take the lead.