TAMPA, Fla. — – Massimo Biscardi built a 27-yard tiebreaking field purpose with four seconds remaining, Marcus Banks returned a fumble 60 yards for a touchdown on the game’s past play and No. 24 Mississippi Condition rallied to conquer Illinois 19-10 on Monday in the ReliaQuest Bowl in the Bulldogs’ initially video game due to the fact mentor Mike Leach’s loss of life.
“Definitely, Mike Leach has been major this plan for a few many years, and he was out there main us nowadays,” mentioned Zach Arnett, who was promoted from defensive coordinator to head mentor 3 days just after Leach’s dying. “Psychological recreation, obviously.”
Banks’ score arrived on Illinois’ fifth lateral following a concluded pass just after the Preventing Ilini obtained the ball at their own 29. There was a scrum on the field as the video game finished, but buy was restored soon after a pair of minutes.
Will Rogers was 29 of 44 yards for 261 yards and 1 touchdown for Mississippi Point out (9-4, No. 22 CFP). Simeon Cost had 68 dashing yards, such as a key 28-yard dash on the go-ahead fourth-quarter drive, on 7 makes an attempt.
“Soccer just isn’t constantly a really game,” Rogers reported. “I know Coach Leach would in all probability be a very little upset at some of the selections, but we fought tough and stayed alongside one another as a team. He was with us all the way. He is been with me all the way. I actually, definitely miss him.”
Tommy DeVito finished 23 of 34 passes for 253 yards for Illinois (8-5).
“A defensive battle that just actually, possibly, came down to who had the ball past,” Illinois coach Bret Bielema mentioned. “Who was in a position to execute. Regretably, we came up limited.”
Reggie Adore III rushed for 40 yards on 11 carries for Illinois. Preventing Illini running again Chase Brown, the nation’s second-major rusher in the common season with 1,643 yards, sat out to prepare for the NFL draft.
Illinois shed all 5 of its game titles by nine details or less. The university has not had a nine-gain season due to the fact the Rose Bowl crew in 2007 went 9-4.
“This is heading to be, hopefully, a spring board into bigger and far better issues,” Bielema claimed.
Mississippi Point out was held without having a touchdown until finally the initial play of the fourth quarter, when Rogers connected on an 8-yard toss to Justin Robinson that tied the sport at 10.
Robinson experienced seven receptions for 81 yards. Illinois’ Isaiah Williams picked up 114 yards on nine catches.
The Bulldogs averaged 32.7 details in the course of the normal season.
Illinois, which entered permitting 12.3 factors and held six opponents to much less than 10 details, performed devoid of defensive backs Devon Witherspoon and Sydney Brown. Both opted out ahead of the NFL draft.
DeVito place Illinois up 7- on a two-garden operate with 2:49 left in the 2nd quarter.
Mississippi Condition responded with a 38-property area target by Biscardi with nine seconds to go in the to start with fifty percent.
IIlinois went up 10-3 on a 52-property industry objective by Caleb Griffin midway through the third.
Mississippi Condition was constrained to 50 yards on its initial three belongings, although the subsequent two ended on interceptions by Matthew Bailey and Kendall Smith.
Illinois tops the nation with 24 interceptions.
Between the tributes to Leach, who died on Dec. 12 thanks to complications from a coronary heart condition, was “MIKE” with a pirate symbol as element of the “I” painted amongst the 20 and 30 on a person section of the field.
The Mississippi Condition band spelled out “LEACH” ahead of a minute of silence was held prior to the activity.
The Bulldogs experienced a pirate flag instead of the university symbol on their helmets. Leach’s nickname was “The Pirate.”
Mississippi Condition: Opens the 2023 common-year on Sept. 2 from Southeastern Louisiana.
Illinois: Hosts Toledo on Sept. 2.