Two weeks after crushing Rutgers 78-0, the No. 3 Michigan football team picked up where it left off. The Wolverines scored on all possessions but one and held Illinois (1-3 Big Ten, 2-4 overall) to just 70 yards (45 of which came on one run) to take a 31-0 lead into halftime.
The flashiest play of the half came on the first drive. After lining up for his usual jet sweep, freshman wide receiver Eddie McDoom reversed direction, caught a pass from Speight in the flat and ran for 33 yards to set up for Michigan’s first score of the game.
After redshirt sophomore Jabrill Peppers carried the ball twice to help move the Wolverines to Illinois’ 3-yard line, Michigan ran its “train” formation to fluster Illinois’ defense. Butt managed to find open space, and Speight connected with him for a 3-yard touchdown pass to put the Wolverines up 7-0.
Michigan’s scariest moment occurred on the following possession, when freshman running back Chris Evans lay motionless on the ground after a hard hit from two Illinois defenders. Evans was able to get up with the help of trainers, but went to the locker room immediately following the hit. On the following play, redshirt freshman tight end Tyrone Wheatley Jr. scored his first career touchdown on a 21-yard pass to put the Wolverines up 14-0.
On the following drive, Speight tossed the ball to Isaac for a 6-yard run into the left corner of the end zone, but Isaac’s foot hit the pylon and the touchdown was called back. Michigan came up short on the following two plays, but redshirt junior fullback Khalid Hill punched it in on a 1-yard run for Michigan’s third score of the game and Hill’s ninth touchdown of the season.
Just over a minute into the second quarter, freshman safety Khaleke Hudson recorded a punt deflection to give the Wolverines the ball on Michigan’s 38-yard line. It set up for senior running back De’Veon Smith’s four-yard scoring run that put the Wolverines up 28-0 with 11 minutes left in the second quarter.
While the offense impressed with 316 total yards, senior safety Dymonte Thomas picked off Illinois quarterback Jeff George Jr. and carried it to Illinois’ 25-yard line to set up for Michigan’s final score of the half. Fifth-year senior Kenny Allen, who has been in a kicking battle with walk-on Ryan Tice and freshman Quinn Nordin, put it through the uprights on a 23-yard attempt.