U grids close out regular season with a victoryMinnesota Sports
-- Marqueis Gray accounted for 252 total yards and three touchdowns, leading the Minnesota Golden Gophers to a 27-7 win over Illinois in the regular-season finale for both teams at TCF Bank Stadium.
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Marqueis Gray accounted for 252 total yards and three touchdowns, leading the Minnesota Golden Gophers to a 27-7 win over Illinois in the regular-season finale for both teams at TCF Bank Stadium.
Gray ran for 167 yards and two TDs, and he threw for 85 and another score to help the Golden Gophers (3-9, 2-6 Big Ten) end the season on a positive note, as they snapped a three-game slide with only their second win in the last nine outings. Gray carried 27 times in the game to claim the school's single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback, with 966.
The Fighting Illini (6-6, 2-6) lost for the sixth straight time following a 6-0 start and will now leave their postseason fate in the hands of the bowl selection committee. Their 6-0 start was the program's best in 60 years. Nathan Scheelhaase and Reilly O'Toole combined to complete just 15-of-27 passes for 78 yards while taking five sacks.
After a scoreless first quarter, Minnesota put up 20 unanswered points in the second quarter. Gray got the scoring started with a 16-yard touchdown scamper at the 12:40 mark, and he made it a 14-0 game with an eight-yard scoring strike to John Rabe with just under seven minutes to play until halftime. Gophers kicker Jordan Wettstein tacked on six more points with field goals of 43 and 51 yards in the final 1:17 of the half.
Gray scored his second rushing touchdown of the day on a 14-yard burst with just under nine minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Illinois finally got on the board at the 4:25 mark of the third quarter, as Troy Pollard capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown run. However, that marked the last scoring play for either team.
The Fighting Illini simply could not get anything going on offense, as they converted only 2-of-15 third downs and finished with 160 total yards for the game.