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Minnesota 40, Illinois 17

MINNEAPOLIS - Rodney Smith ran for a career-best 211 yards and a touchdown, Shannon Brooks added 111 rushing yards and a touchdown in his second game back from injury and Minnesota totaled 332 yards on the ground against Illinois in a 40-17 win.

Tanner Morgan was 9-of-17 passing for 155 yards and three touchdowns for the Gophers (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten), who have won seven straight games dating back to last season and rushed for more than 300 yards for the first time since tallying 409 yards against Nebraska in 2017.

Minnesota's defense allowed just three points and held Illini running back Reggie Corbin, the third-leading rusher in the Big Ten, to 68 yards on 14 carries.

Illinois (2-3, 0-2) scored two defensive touchdowns. Dele Harding returned an interception of Morgan for a touchdown in the first quarter to give the Illini an early lead and Milo Eifler returned a fumble for another score in the third after Jake Hansen stripped Morgan on a sack.

Illinois lost starting quarterback Brandon Peters in the first half after he hit the turf hard while being tackled. He walked off the field with assistance and was replaced by Matt Robinson, who was 15-of-29 passing for 125 yards.

Smith helped the Gophers grab momentum in the second after a slow start by both teams. He had a season-long 64-yard run to set up the Gophers first touchdown.

Minnesota put together its best rushing game of the season as it gets healthier in the backfield with the return of Brooks, who had played just two games in the past two seasons because of knee injuries.

Associated Press

October 5, 2019

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