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Illinois edges Maryland on field goal as time expires

Caleb Griffin drilled a 43-yard field goal as time expired to lift Illinois to a 27-24 win over Maryland on a dreary homecoming Saturday in College Park, Md.

Griffin’s kick capped a seven-play, 50-yard drive that featured a critical 29-yard pass from Luke Altmyer to Casey Washington down the left sideline to move the ball to the Terrapins’ 42-yard line with a minute to go. Altmyer found Aidan Laughery for 12 yards on the following play before the quarterback netted five more yards on three straight runs to set up Griffin’s game-winner.

Altmyer finished 16-for-28 for 206 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for Illinois (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten). Washington hauled in four passes for 60 yards, while Laughery’s clutch catch was his only reception of the day.

Taulia Tagovailoa hit on 27 of 39 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns for Maryland (5-2, 2-2), which has lost two straight.

The Fighting Illini fell behind 14-7 in the second quarter before the Terrapins’ first lost fumble of the season changed the picture considerably.

After catching a 27-yard touchdown on Maryland’s previous possession, Kaden Prather fumbled at the Illinois 27-yard line with under two minutes left in the second quarter. The Fighting Illini benefitted from two Terrapins’ personal fouls on the ensuing possession and drove to the Maryland 2-yard line before facing a fourth-and-one.

Illinois initially sent out its field goal team but ran the offense back onto the field following a Maryland timeout. Kaden Feagin’s 2-yard touchdown plunge evened the halftime score at 14-14.

Feagin churned out 84 yards on 19 carries to complement his touchdown.

The Fighting Illini successfully double-dipped when they recovered Maryland’s surprise onside kick to begin the second half and jumped ahead 21-14 on Isaiah Williams’ 15-yard touchdown catch at the 10:33 mark in the third quarter. Griffin’s 40-yard field goal pushed Illinois’ advantage to 10 points.

The Terrapins responded when Antwain Littleton II muscled his way in for a 4-yard touchdown on the final play of the quarter to slice Maryland’s deficit to 24-21.

Illinois’ offense stalled in the fourth quarter, going three-and-out on its first three possessions. Tagovalioa guided the Terps 38 yards on six plays to set up Jack Howes’ game-tying 48-yard boot with 1:31 to go before Altmyer and Griffin’s heroics.

The Fighting Illini jumped ahead 7-0 midway through the opening quarter when Altmyer hit Pat Bryant down the right sideline for a 44-yard touchdown. Bryant finished with three receptions and a team-high 61 receiving yards.

Altmyer threw his lone interception of the first half on Illinois’ next possession, which set up Maryland’s offense near midfield. Tagovailoa capitalized by finding Sean Greeley in the flat on fourth down for a 4-yard touchdown to even the score at 7-7 entering the second quarter.

–Field Level Media

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