COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The game can still be a matchup between undefeated Ohio State Football and undefeated Michigan — hardly.
Jake Moody’s 35-yard field goal nine seconds from time gave the Wolverines a 19-17 win over Illinois at Michigan Stadium. Michigan, the No. 3 team in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings, improved to 11-0. Ohio State is attempting to take on Maryland that same Saturday.
In Big Ten terms, The Game’s stakes wouldn’t have changed. The winner at Ohio Stadium next Saturday would have won the Big Ten East and advanced to the Big Ten championship game. However, a defeat for the Wolverines would have dealt a blow to the chances of one of The Game’s losers still making the playoffs.
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Illinois, which once appeared to have taken control of the Big Ten West, came on Saturday on a two-game losing streak after home losses to Michigan State and Purdue. Running back Chase Brown recovered from an injury and rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns. That included a 37-yard scoring run that gave the Illini a 17-10 lead late in the third quarter.
Michigan running back Blake Corum, who is considered a Heisman Trophy contender, suffered a knee injury in the first half. He left the game briefly, came back to start the second half but failed to finish the game. The Wolverines were already playing without their other top running back, Donovan Edwards.
Michigan kicked a field goal to play 3:14 within 17-16. Illinois punted from their own 22 with 2:24 remaining after forcing Michigan to use their last timeout. Michigan drove into the red zone before Moody, the reigning winner of the Lou Groza Award for the nation’s best kicker, scored his 65th field goal of his career.
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