Mike Glass III threw three touchdown passes and Chad Ryland kicked a 24-yard field goal as time expired as Eastern Michigan beat Illinois 34-31 on Saturday at Champaign, Ill.
It was the third win over a Big Ten team in as many seasons for the Eagles (2-1), who won at Purdue on a last-second field goal last year and won by three at Rutgers in 2017.
Eastern Michigan went up 31-17 with 11:20 left in the fourth quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run by Willie Parker, the only two-score lead for either team, before Illinois (2-1) ended a nearly 39-minute scoring drought with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Illinois got within 31-24 on a 28-yard scoring run from Reggie Corbin, who had 144 yards on 18 carries, and tied it at 31 with 1:44 left on a 36-yard pass from Brandon Peters to Josh Imatorbhebhe.
Imatorbhebhe, a USC transfer, had three catches for 82 yards on that drive, including 32-yard grab on 4th-and-10 from the Illinois 7.
EMU’s game-winning field goal came after it went from its 25 to the Illinois 4 in 96 seconds, setting up Ryland’s heroics. The sophomore, who also kicked the game-winner against Purdue last year — also from 24 yards — had a career-long 52-yard field goal in the first half.
Glass finished with 316 yards on 23-of-36 passing, connecting twice with Arthur Jackson on scoring throws.
Peters, a Michigan graduate transfer, completed 10 of his first 12 passes as Illinois scored 17 first-quarter points for its best opening period under fourth-year coach Lovie Smith. But Peters’ line couldn’t protect him as he was sacked six times, two more than Illinois had allowed in the first two games.
Peters finished with 297 yards and two TDs on 22-of-37 passing.
Illinois, which was trying to start 3-0 for the first time since 2011, opens Big Ten play at home against Nebraska on Sept 21. EMU, which was playing its third straight road game to open the season, hosts FCS Central Connecticut State in its home opener.
—Field Level Media