NCAAF Game Recap - Illinois at Connecticut
Sat Sep 7, 2019 3:30 PM EDT

TxAM
10
Clem
24
F
NMSt
10
Ala
62
F
Murr
17
UGA
63
F
SD
14
Okla
70
F
Cin
0
OHSt
42
F
LSU
45
Tex
38
F
Army
21
Mich
24
F(1OT)
Tul
6
Aub
24
F
UT-M
0
Fla
45
F
NIU
17
Utah
35
F
Cal
20
Wash
19
F
Buff
13
PSU
45
F
Nev
6
Oreg
77
F
C Mi
0
Wisc
61
F
UCF
48
FlAtl
14
F
WestMI
17
MSU
51
F
Rut
0
Iowa
30
F
Syr
20
MD
63
F
NoCol
17
WaSt
59
F
Stan
20
USC
45
F
Marsh
7
Boise
14
F
Neb
31
Colo
34
F OT
Wake
41
Rice
21
F
W&M
17
UVA
52
F
SacSt
7
AzSt
19
F
Ohio
10
Pitt
20
F
(N/A)
23
Kent
26
F
WVU
7
Mizzu
38
F
Sou
24
Mem
55
F
BGSU
0
K St
52
F
OD
17
VaTec
31
F
ChaSo
10
SCar
72
F
Vand
24
Purd
42
F
UAB
31
Akr
20
F
WCU
0
NCSt
41
F
SoFL
10
GATec
14
F
Ford
29
Ball
57
F
TnTec
17
MiaOH
48
F
SMiss
15
MisSt
38
F
Gram
14
LaTec
20
F
SIU
45
UMass
20
F
E Il
0
Ind
52
F
Ill
31
UConn
23
F
Rich
13
BC
45
F
Char
41
App
56
F
WIl
13
ColSt
38
F
UTSA
14
Bayl
63
F
SDSU
23
UCLA
14
F
ULMon
44
FlaSt
45
F OT
Maine
18
GaSo
26
F
GWebb
9
ECU
48
F
NCAT
13
Duke
45
F
Furm
42
GASt
48
F
Wyo
23
TxSt
14
F
JacSt
14
SoAl
37
F
NorTx
27
SMU
49
F
McNee
14
OkSt
56
F
TnSt
26
MidTN
45
F
CoCar
12
Kans
7
F
BYU
29
Tenn
26
F(1OT)
E Ky
0
Lou
42
F
W Ky
20
FLInt
14
F
Stony
7
UtSt
62
F
Ark
17
Miss
31
F
Lib
14
ULLaf
35
F
E Mi
17
KY
38
F
UTEP
3
TxTch
38
F
PVAM
17
Hou
37
F
MiaFL
25
UNC
28
F
Tuls
34
SJSU
16
F
ArkSt
43
UNLV
17
F
Minn
38
Fres
35
F(1OT)
NoAZ
41
Ariz
65
F
OreSt
28
Hawaii
31
F

Sep 7, 2019, 3:30 PM EDT

Final

1

2

3

4

T

Illinois (2-0)

0

24

7

0

31

Connecticut (1-1)

10

3

7

3

23

Illini end nonconference road losing streak 31-23 over UConn
Sat Sep 7, 2019 9:18 PM

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Illinois passed its first road test on Saturday.

Brandon Peters set career highs, throwing for 225 yards and four touchdowns as the Illini overcame an early 13-point deficit to beat UConn 31-23.

It was the first nonconference road win for Illinois (2-0) in a dozen years.

"Whenever you can eliminate a bad streak like that, it's a positive thing," said coach Lovie Smith. "We're going to be a good football team this year. Hopefully, there will be more of those."

Jakari Norwood had 62 yards to lead a rushing attack that accounted for 130 yards.

Jack Zergiotis, making his first start in place of an injured Michael Beaudry, completed 21 of 31 passes for 275 yards for the Huskies (1-1).

Beaudry was available, if needed, but coach Randy Edsall said there will be no quarterback controversy. Zergiotis, a true freshman, has won the starting job.

"He's got a little bit of the `it' factor," Edsall said.

UConn, a three touchdown underdog, jumped out to an early lead when defensive back Tyler Coyle stepped in front of a Peters pass in the first quarter and returned it down the left sideline 52 yards. Clayton Harris added two of his three field goals in the first half.

But Ra'Von Bonner got the Illini rolling, taking a screen pass and weaving 28 yards down the right side for a score. That was the first of three second quarter touchdown passes for Peters, the Michigan transfer. The Illini put up 24 unanswered points, closing the half with a 53-yard field goal from James McCourt that was set up by a 29-yard interception return from Michael Marchese.

"We just all came together and said, `We've got to do better,"' said Norwood. "We started off bad. We started off slow. We were like, `We got to pick it up. We've got to lock in and make more plays."'

Illinois fumbled its first handoff after a 68-yard second half kickoff return from Dre Brown and UConn drove 59 yards, getting back in the game when Kevin Mensah dove into the end zone from 2 yards out.

But Southern Cal transfer Josh Imatorbhebhe capped an 87-yard drive with his second touchdown catch of the game to put Illinois on top 31-20 and an interception by Dele Harding stopped a late UConn drive to preserve the win.

"Good football teams are going to have to fight through adversity," Smith said. "It's really tough when you're on the road and you get in a hole the way we did. But we fought back through it."

BY COMMITTEE

Illinois junior running back Mike Epstein suffered a season-ending knee injury against Akron and his main backup, Reggie Corbin, also was injured and could not go Saturday, despite warming up. That left Norwood, Brown and Bonner to share the load.

"We were kind of thrown right in the fire," said Brown, who had 33 yards rushing and returned five kickoffs for 163 yards. "We're excited to get Reggie back to get the whole crew back together. We really balance each other really well."

DEFENSIVE STAR

Defensive end Oluwole Betiku, another Southern Cal transfer, was in the UConn backfield much of the game, recording 3 1/2 sacks. He had six tackles, three for losses and 1 1/2 sacks in the Illini's opening win over Akron.

"It's a heck of start and he hasn't played a lot of ball," Smith said. "He can take another step, I really believe that."

NO NERVES

Zergiotis said he expected to be nervous, but the butterflies went away a couple hours before the game.

"Thankfully they did go away and we performed at a level that was fine," he said. "But, we want to improve."

THE TAKEAWAY

Illinois: Illinois' last win on the road outside the Big Ten came in 2007 at Syracuse. The only other regular season nonconference road win this century was in 2001, at California.

UConn: Despite the respectable showing, the Huskies have now lost 17 straight games to FBS opponents. Their last win against the Bowl Subdivision came on Oct. 21, 2017 against Tulsa.

UP NEXT

Illinois: The Illini return home to take on Eastern Michigan next Saturday

UConn: The Huskies have an early bye week before facing another Big Ten opponent, traveling to Indiana for a game on Sept. 21.

---

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Passing

Ill Att Cmp % TD-Pa Yds-Pa LgPa Int Rat
B. Peters 35 24 68.6 4 227 28 1 112.4
UConn Att Cmp % TD-Pa Yds-Pa LgPa Int Rat
J. Zergiotis 31 21 67.7 0 275 40 2 68.6

Rushing

Ill Att Yds-Ru Avg LgRu TD-Ru
J. Norwood 6 62 10.3 50 0
D. Brown 9 33 3.7 13 0
UConn Att Yds-Ru Avg LgRu TD-Ru
K. Mensah 14 27 1.9 9 1
A. Thompkins 8 14 1.8 11 0

Receiving

Ill Rec Yds-Rc Avg LgRc TD-Rc
R. Smalling 7 56 8.0 26 0
D. Barker 2 44 22.0 26 1
UConn Rec Yds-Rc Avg LgRc TD-Rc
C. Ross 4 85 21.3 40 0
A. Brown 7 81 11.6 25 0

Fumbles

Ill F FL
B. Peters 1 1
UConn F FL
A. Thompkins 1 0
J. Zergiotis 1 1

Returning

Ill KR Avg KRTD LgKR PR Avg TD LgPR
D. Brown 5 32.6 0 68 0 - 0 0
D. Navarro 0 - 0 0 2 3.5 0 5
UConn KR Avg KRTD LgKR PR Avg TD LgPR
A. Thompkins 2 14.0 0 20 0 - 0 0

Punting

Ill Punt Yds Avg LgPu
B. Hayes 4 155 38.8 47
UConn Punt Yds Avg LgPu
L. Magliozzi 5 190 38.0 42

Takeaways

Ill Int Yds InTD
D. Harding 1 0 0
M. Marchese 1 29 0
UConn Int Yds InTD
D. Morgan 0 0 0
T. Coyle 1 52 1

Team Stats Comparison

Ill UConn
Points For 31 23
Total Yards 357 285
Rushing Yards 130 10
Passing Yards 227 275
Passing Completions / Attempts 24/35 21/31
Turnovers 3 3
Interceptions Thrown 1 2
Fumbles - Lost 3/2 2/1
First Downs 21 16
Penalties - Yards 9/98 4/34
Time Of Possession 15:15 45:45
Third Down Conversions/Attempts 6/11 6/15
Fourth Down Conversions/Attempts 0/1 0/0
Punts - Average Yards 4/39 5/38

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter Ill UConn
UConn 3:46 TD Tyler Coyle 52 yd interception return (Clayton Harris kick) 0 7
UConn 11:04 FG Clayton Harris 35 yd FG 0 10
2nd Quarter Ill UConn
UConn 0:03 FG Clayton Harris 29 yd FG 0 13
Ill 3:17 TD Ra'Von Bonner 28 yd pass from Brandon Peters (James McCourt kick) 7 13
Ill 9:09 TD Josh Imatorbhebhe 9 yd pass from Brandon Peters (James McCourt kick) 14 13
Ill 14:05 TD Daniel Barker 18 yd pass from Brandon Peters (James McCourt kick) 21 13
Ill 15:00 FG James McCourt 53 yd FG 24 13
3rd Quarter Ill UConn
UConn 3:24 TD Kevin Mensah 2 yd run (Clayton Harris kick) 24 20
Ill 8:51 TD Josh Imatorbhebhe 13 yd pass from Brandon Peters (James McCourt kick) 31 20
4th Quarter Ill UConn
UConn 3:21 FG Clayton Harris 33 yd FG 31 23

Game Information

Stadium: Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field, East Hartford, Connecticut
Attendance: 23,108
Game Time:
Weather: