College, Pard, Md—A dreary day exemplified the kind of game University of Maryland and University of Illinois football had this past Saturday. Maryland’s second straight loss came a week after a lopsided loss to a Big Ten powerhouse. Illinois football team added to Maryland’s misery Saturday afternoon when it beat Maryland, 27-24, on the final play of the game to spoil Maryland’s 2023 homecoming at SECU Stadium.
Illinois’ place kicker Caleb Griffin’s 43-yard field goal as time expired dealt the Terrapins one of the most disappointing loss in the tenure of Head Coach Michael Locksley, who declared over the summer he had hopes of competing for a conference championship. Maryland instead failed to handle an Illinois opponent that entered the game in last place in the Big Ten Conference and without a conference win.
Seven different receivers caught a pass, including 60 yards and four receptions from Casey Washington. Isaiah Williams also tallied four catches and caught his first touchdown of the season, while Pat Bryant hauled in a 44-yard pass for his fifth score of the year.
Kaden Feagin, making the first start of his college career, registered 19 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown, his first of the season. The Illini totaled 131 yards on the ground against the Terrapins.
Illinois’ special teams came to play on Saturday. Along with Griffin’s two field goals, Williams averaged 28-yards on his two punt returns, while Kenari Wilcher recorded a 43-yard kickoff return that came in the fourth quarter.
The Illini offense capitalized on their first drive of the game after the defense forced the Terrapins punt to open the game. Feagin opened the game with a 12-yard pickup before Altmyer found Tip Reiman for a 13-yard gain. Three plays later, Altmyer found Bryant for a 44-yard touchdown connection it was the Illini wide receiver’s fourth receiving score of the season.
After Maryland scored 14 straight points, Odeluga recovered a Maryland fumble giving the Illinois offense a chance to march down the field with under two minutes to play in the opening half.
A 17-yard strike to Washington moved the Illinois offense to midfield, and Illinois ultimately found the end zone on a 2-yard rush from Feagin, the first touchdown of his college career, to tie the game at 14 with nine seconds to play in the first half.
After opening the second half near midfield, the Illini took advantage of the great field position with an eight-play, 59-yard drive ending with a 15-yard pass to Isaiah Williams, his first touchdown of the season. The score put the visitors back in front, 21-14, less than five minutes into the second half.
The Illini extended their lead on their subsequent possessions. Caleb Griffin drilled a 40-yard field goal six minutes later to give the Illini a ten point advantage. 24-14.
After the Terrapins tied the game with 90 seconds left in the game, the Illini marched down the field to set up the game-winning field goal. A 29-yard completion to Washington moved the ball into Terrapin territory before Aiden Laughery took the ball inside the Maryland 30. Getting to the Terrapin 25-yard line, Griffin hit his second game-winning field goal of the season, this time from 43 yards out, to give the Illini the road win.
Illinois returns home on Oct. 21 to take on Wisconsin on Homecoming while Maryland has a bye week.