You won't often come across a sad fan whose team scored 52 points. Observe the phenomenon at our Illinois blog, Hail to the Orange.
Champaign, IL (Sports Network) – Ryan Colburn threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jamel Hamler with two seconds remaining and Fresno State converted a miraculous two-point conversion attempt that lifted the Bulldogs over the Illinois Fighting Illini by a 53-52 final in non-conference play.
Ryan Matthews rushed for 173 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries for Fresno State (8-4).
Juice Williams threw for 211 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in defeat for Illinois (3-9).
With the score tied at 45-45 with 6:14 remaining in the game, Williams tossed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Mikel Leshoure, making the count 52-45.
Fresno State answered with an 11-play, 67 yard drive that culminated with the Colburn touchdown pass to Hamler. Rather than force overtime with an extra point kick, the Bulldogs put the ball back in Colburn’s hands. The quarterback threw a short pass that was deflected and then caught by Devan Cunningham, a 350-pound lineman. That freak play won the game for the Bulldogs.
Both teams registered a touchdown in the first quarter, as a 15-yard scamper by Illinois’ Daniel Dufrene was followed by a one-yard scoring plunge by Matthews.
The Bulldogs took a 14-7 advantage on the first play of the second quarter, as Phillip Thomas intercepted a pass and raced 21 yards for a touchdown.
Illinois answered with back-to-back touchdowns in that second quarter to grab a 21-14 lead. After an 18-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Jeff Cumberland, Jason Ford reached paydirt on an eight-yard scamper.
The final half minute of the first half was loaded with action. Fresno State tied the game at 21-21 on a four-yard touchdown pass from Colburn to Seyi Ajirotutu with 22 seconds remaining. Just 14 seconds later, however, the Illini jumped back in front by a 28-21 count on a 58-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Arrelious Benn.
Illinois pushed its edge to 31-21 in the third quarter on a 44-yard field goal by Derek Dimke.
Fresno State then tied the score at 31-31 with a one-yard touchdown plunge by Matthews and a 34-yard field goal from Kevin Goessling.
On the final play of the third quarter, Illinois grabbed a 38-31 advantage on a 61-yard touchdown scamper by LeShoure.
Matthews evened the score at 38-38 early in the fourth quarter, as he raced 27 yards to the end zone.
LeShoure made another big play for Illinois with 9:29 left in that fourth stanza, as he scored on a 19-yard run to give the Illini a 45-38 lead.
The back-and-forth affair continued with a 25-yard touchdown run by Colburn, evening the count at 45-45.
- Via Sports Network.