Caleb Griffin kicked a 43-yard field goal as time expired to give Illinois its first Big Ten victory of the season, a 27-24 upset of Maryland on Saturday.
Luke Altmyer threw two touchdown passes and then guided the Illini (3-4, 1-3) into field-goal range after Maryland’s Jack Howes tied it with a 48-yard kick with 1:31 remaining in regulation. After connecting on the winning field goal, Griffin took off running toward the other end of the field and slid on his stomach in celebration.
Seth Coleman had three sacks for Illinois.
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Kaden Feagin ran for a TD for the Illini, who reached the end zone on both sides of halftime to take the lead. Maryland (5-2, 2-2) was coming off its first loss of the season. The Terrapins acquitted themselves well for much of that game at Ohio State, but they followed it with a performance as dreary as the grey sky on what was a drizzly day in Maryland.
Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns and even caught a pass on a trick play, but the Terps had a hard time sustaining drives against a solid Illinois defensive front.
Illinois led 24-14 before Maryland’s Antwain Littleton II ran for a 4-yard touchdown as time expired in the third quarter.
Maryland led 14-7 in the second quarter when receiver Kaden Prather fumbled the ball away at the Illinois 27. The Illini then drove for the tying touchdown with the help of a couple big penalties on the Terrapins. On fourth-and-1 from the 2, Illinois lined up as if to kick a short field goal, but after Maryland took a timeout, the offense came back on the field.
Illinois Fighting Illini
Feagin ran for a TD to even the score at 14 with 9 seconds left in the half.
Maryland tried an onside kick to open the third quarter and it didn’t work. The Illini marched 59 yards and took the lead on a 15-yard scoring pass from Altmyer to Isaiah Williams.
Illinois opened the scoring in the first quarter on a 44-yard touchdown strike from Altmyer to Pat Bryant. Maryland answered with touchdown passes by Tagovailoa to Sean Greeley and Prather.
Illinois: The Illini were ready after losing their first three Big Ten games by a combined 55 points. They didn’t dominate the game physically, but they played well enough at the line of scrimmage to keep Maryland’s dangerous offense under control.
Maryland: The Terps have done a lot to improve their program’s reputation of late, but this was a setback. Maryland’s schedule is such that the Terrapins might be significant favorites or significant underdogs in every game this season. They were certainly expected to win this one, and they’ll have earned the criticism they get after dropping it.
Illinois: The Illini host Wisconsin next Saturday.
Maryland: The Terps have an open date, followed by a trip to play Northwestern on Oct. 28.