(Saturday, November 12th)
Final Score: (22) Michigan 31, Illinois 14
Champaign, IL (Sports Network) - Fitzgerald Toussaint had a career day on the ground, rushing for 192 yards and a touchdown as No. 22 Michigan topped Illinois, 31-14 from Memorial Stadium.
Denard Robinson completed 6-of-10 passes for 92 yards and rushed for a pair of scores before exiting the game in the third quarter with an apparent injury to his throwing hand.
Backup Devin Gardner threw for 47 yards and a touchdown for Michigan (8-2, 4-2 Big Ten), while Martavious Odoms caught two passes for 46 yards and a touchdown.
Nathan Scheelhaase threw for 170 yards and an interception on 16-of-31 passing and ran for a touchdown for Illinois (6-4, 2-4), while Jason Ford rushed for 26 yards and a score on 11 carries. A.J. Jenkins hauled in eight passes for 103 yards.
Michigan wasted little time taking the lead as Toussaint ran for 71 total yards on the first drive -- including a 65 yard sprint -- to put the ball at the Illinois 15. Two plays later, Robinson ran untouched into the end zone for a nine-yard score to give his team a 7-0 lead.
Early in the second quarter, the Wolverines stretched their lead to 14-0, again using the ground game. Toussaint carried the ball four times on the seven-play, 41-yard drive before Robinson trotted into the end zone from the two-yard line for his second score of the game.
With just over 4 1/2 minutes to go in the third quarter, Michigan upped its lead to 17-0 when the Wolverines' special teams came up with a fumble recovery after a punt. The offense took over on the Illinois 32 and moved down to the nine before Brendan Gibbons connected on a 27-yard field goal.
Illinois finally got on the board with under a minute to go in the third quarter as Scheelhaase led an 11-play, 75-yard drive before capping the march with a 13-yard touchdown sprint to cut the deficit to 17-7.
With Illinois on the move early in the fourth quarter, the Wolverines defense came up with a big play. Scheelhaase dropped back to throw on 3rd-and-4 and flung it out to the right in the direction of Jenkins, but the route was jumped by J.T. Floyd, who picked off the pass and ran it back to 43 yards to the Illini 22.
"We lost, that's pretty much how it is," Jenkins said. "We just didn't come through today. On offense, we started out a little slow and got down 14 to nothing. We just weren't able to do it today."
Michigan was able to take advantage on the ensuing drive. The Wolverines needed only three plays before Gardner connected with Odoms for a 27-yard strike and a comfortable 24-7 lead.
"J.T. has played good football for us. I like how he's competing, I like how he's challenging receivers in a consistent manner, and when you do that you'll have opportunities to make plays," Michigan head coach Brady Hoke said. "He sat on the route, knew what was coming, made the break right, and the film studying really paid off."
A one-yard touchdown push by Ford with just over three minutes to go in regulation made it 24-14.
Following an onside kick recovery, the Wolverines locked up the victory when Toussaint broke free for a 27-yard touchdown run to account for the final margin.
Michigan leads the all-time series with Illinois by a 68-23-2 count, and holds a 34-12-1 edge in Champaign. The Wolverines won last year's meeting, 67-65, in triple-overtime...Michigan was 6-for-14 on third down, while Illinois converted five of its 17 third down opportunities.
11/12 21:28:23 ET