Michigan State refused to let freshman running back Elijah Collins run the team to victory with a 21-point, second-half lead, instead opting to try and secure a victory over Illinois via its passing game.
The Spartans in the second half scored just 3 points and gave up the winning score with 5 seconds remaining, a 37-34 home loss to the Illini.
MSU - Brian Lewerke: 19/36, 251 yds., TD, 3 INT
ILL - Brandon Peters: 22/42, 369 yds., 3 TD, INT
MSU - Elijah Collins: 28 atts., 170 yds., 2 TD
ILL - Reggie Corbin: 7 atts., 29 yds., TD
MSU - Cody White: 7 recs., 128 yds.
ILL - Josh Imatorbhebhe: 4 recs., 178 yds., 2 TD
Illinois beats Michigan State on final play from scrimmage
Brandon Peters throws complete to Caleb Reams on first down for a gain of 14.The Illini have a first down at the 39.
Donny Navarro then hauls in a 10-yard pass on the next play.
Peters goes deep on first down, overthrowing his receiver. Peters is sacked for a loss of 7 on second down. His third-down throw falls incomplete, bringing up fourth-and-16.
Timeout #3 Illinois (1:57 4th)
Josh Imatorbhebhe makes a grown-man catch on fourth down, hauling in a pass in double coverage that nets 37 yards and a first down at the Michigan State 19.
Dre Brown rushes for a gain of 6 on the next play. Brown catches a second-down throw out of the backfield and then shoots through a gap to the Michigan State 1.
Timeout #1 Michigan State (0:55 4th)
Brown is dropped for a loss of 3 on first down
Timeout #2 Michigan State (0:50 4th)
Peters is stopped for no gain on second down.
Timeout #3 Michigan State (0:45 4th)
Peters' third-down throw to Imatorbhebhe falls incomplete. Illinois' fourth-down play is a fade to the end zone that draws a pass interference flag on Josh Butler.
Brown then loses 3 yards on first-and-goal from the 2. Peters hits Daniel Barker in the end zone to put Illinois on top.
Illinois 37, Michigan State 34 (0:05 4th)
The game ends on the ensuing kickoff.
FINAL: Illinois 37, Michigan State 34
Michigan State extends lead to 34-30
Michigan State takes over at the 25.
Elijah Collins gets the ball on first down and races up the sideline for a 40-yard pickup.
Collins rushes for 5 yards on the next play. He gets another yard on second down.
Timeout #1 Illinois (3:26 4th)
Lewerke can't find a hole on third down and is wrapped up after a gain of 1.
Timeout #2 Illinois (3:22 4th)
Matt Coghlin's 46-yard field goal try is good.
Michigan State 34, Illinois 30 (3:17 4th)
Michigan State-Illinois trade turnovers in Spartan territory before Lewerke throws pick 6
Michigan State takes over at the 25.
The snap to Brian Lewerke is high, fumbled, and recovered by Illinois at the 15.
Michigan State 31, Illinois 24 (10:59 4th)
Dre Brown rushes for a gain of 4 on first down. Brandon Peters is then sacked for a loss of 8 before throwing an interception on third down to Shakur Brown.
Michigan State 31, Illinois 24 (9:36 4th)
Elijah Collins rushes for 11 yards on first down. Running the ball with a lead--what a concept.
Collins rushes for 2 yards on the next play, and Brian Lewerke moves the chains with an 8-yard run on second down.
Collins rushes for no gain on first down. Cody White catches a 24-yard pass from Lewerke over the middle on second down, making it first-and-10 at the Illinois 45.
Collins is dropped for a 3-yard loss. Lewerke gains those 3 yards back with his feet on the next play. Lewerke throws directly to an Illinois defensive back on third down, who returns it to the house for a pick 6.
The ensuing PAT is missed.
Michigan State 31, Illinois 30 (4:53 4th)
Illinois cuts Michigan State lead to 31-24
Brandon Peters throws complete to Caleb Reams for a gain of 17 on first down.
He throws incompelte to Donny Navarro on the next play but hits him for a 12-yard gain on second down.
A false start on Illinois makes it first-and-15 from the 29. Peters finds Reggie Corbin for a 23-yard completion.
Corbin then goes up the middle and waltzes into the end zone.
Michigan State 31, Illinois 24 (11:06 4th)
Penalty on first-down passing play dooms drive from start
Michigan State takes over at the 26.
Brian Lewerke takes a deep shot to Cody White that's caught but called back for pass interference. It's first-and-23. Elijah Collins rushes for 4 yards. He then catches a 3-yard pass and rushes for 4 more yards on third down.
Jake Hartbarger's punt is returned to the Illinois 48.
Michigan State 31, Illinois 17 (12:14 4th)
Illinois cuts Michigan State lead to 31-17 early in 4th
Brandon Peters throws an 83-yard touchdown pass to Josh Imatorbhebhe on the first play of the drive.
Michigan State 31, Illinois 17 (14:48 4th)
Michigan State continues to throw ball while trying to kill clock
Elijah Collins rushes for 4 yards on first down and 2 yards on second down. Brian Lewerke completes a 3-yard pass to Tre Mosley on third down. The Spartans go for it, picking up the first down with a 1-yard run by Collins.
Lewerke throws a deep pass to Julian Barnett on first down, an incompletion. Collins rushes for 3 yards on second down. Lewerke's third-down throw sails 5 yards over his receiver's head.
Jake Hartbarger's punt is fair caught at the 9.
Michigan State 31, Illinois 10 (0:50 3rd)
Illinois offense remains stagnant
Brandon Peters throws a 3-yard completion on first down. Dre Brown rushes for a yard on second down. Peters' ball is tipped and falls incomplete on third down.
Brandon Sowards returns the punt to Michigan State's 44.
Michigan State 31, Illinois 10 (4:11 3rd)
Michigan State air attack not enough to extend lead
Elijah Collins rushes for a yard on first down. Brian Lewerke throws complete to Matt Seybert for a gain of 14 on the next play. Michigan State has a first down at the 30.
Lewerke is forced to get rid of it quickly and throws incomplete on first down. Anthony Williams rushes for 8 yards on second down. Illinois is offsides on the next play, giving the Spartans a first down at the 43.
Lewerke throws incomplete on first down. He throws to Cody White on second down for what probably should have been a touchdown, but instead, the ball hits the ground 5 yards in front of his receiver. Michigan State, with a 21-point second-half lead, again elects to throw, and again, stops the clock with an incompletion.
Michigan State 31, Illinois 10 (5:31 3rd)
Illinois gets moving, can't finish drive
Justice Williams runs up the middle for a 9-yard gain before fumbling. Illinois recovers. Brandon Peters throws incomplete to Josh Imatorbhebhe deep on second down. RaVon Bonner makes the line-to-gain with a 1-yard run on third down.
Peters makes an incredible play to stay upright in the face of danger before firing a perfect throw to Caleb Reams that's straight up dropped. The second-down throw is incomplete, too. Peters throws it away on third down.
Cody White calls for a fair catch on the punt at the 15.
Michigan State 31, Illinois 10 (8:05 3rd)
Two straight incompletions end Michigan State drive early
Elijah Collins is dropped at the 36 for a loss of 2 on first down. Brian Lewerke's throw to Cody White down the sideline on second down falls incomplete. He throws incomplete to Tre Mosley on third down.
Jordan Holmes returns the ensuing punt 10 yards to the Illinois 28.
Michigan State 31, Illinois 10 (9:00 3rd)
Michigan State defense opens half with three-and-out
Illinois takes over at the 25.
Reggie Corbin is dropped by Antjuan Simmons for a loss of 3 on first down. Brandon Peters on second down throws incomplete to Corbin. Peters is hurried on a third-down throw to Donny Navarro, which falls to the grass harmlessly.
Blake Hayes' punt goes out of bounds at the Michigan State 38.
Michigan State 31, Illinois 10 (9:56 3rd)
Michigan State adds to lead with field goal
Michigan State takes over at the 25.
Elijah Collins on first down gets the Spartans all the way to the Illinois 49 with a 26-yard run.
Brian Lewerke rushes for 9 yards on first down. Collins hits a hole to his right and cuts through a handful of defenders before getting dragged downed at the Illinois 13, a gain of 27. Pretty solid drive for the freshman back.
Lewerke pulls from Collins and gets 9 yards on the next play, bringing up second-and-1 at the 4. Collins gets to the 1, earning another first down.
Collins is stopped for no gain on first down. Lewerke is stopped for no gain on second down. He stumbles while trying to give to Collins on the next play, fumbling. Illinois recovers, but he was down. It'll instead be a loss of 4.
Matt Coghlin puts through a 23-yard field goal.
Michigan State 31, Illinois 10 (10:59 3rd)
MSU - Brian Lewerke: 14/22, 203 yds., TD, 2 INT
ILL - Brandon Peters: 10/18, 135 yds., TD
MSU - Elijah Collins: 10 atts., 45 yds., 2 TD
ILL - Reggie Corbin: 5 atts., 26 yds.
MSU - Cody White: 6 recs., 104 yds.
ILL - Josh Imatorbhebhe: 1 rec., 46 yds., TD
Illinois cuts into Michigan State lead before half
Reggie Corbin rushes to the 27 for a gain of 7 on first down. Donny Navarro catches a 2-yard pass on second down. A 41-yard run by Corbin on third down is erased by a holding penalty. Peters is sacked for a loss of 1 on the next play.
Timeout #3 Michigan State (1:08 2nd)
Brandon Sowards returns the punt 1 yard to the 40.
Michigan State 28, Illinois 3 (0:58 2nd)
Brian Lewerke completes a 19-yard throw to Julian Barnett before being picked off on the following play by Sydney Brown at the Illinois 19.
Michigan State 28, Illinois 3 (0:32 2nd)
Illinois travels 81 yards in three plays before the half and scores on a 46-yard touchdown throw to Josh Imatorbhebhe as time expires.
END 2ND: Michigan State 28, Illinois 10
Lewerke throws end-zone interception
Brian Lewerke rushes to the 32 for a gain of 13 on first down.
Lewerke then rushes for 3 on the next play before completing a 16-yard throw to Cody White. It'll be first-and-10 at the Illinois 47.
Brandon Wright rushes for 1 yard on first down and 2 on second down. Lewerke throws complete to White again of a 31-yard gain. It's first down at the 13.
Anthony Williams rushes for 5 yards on first down. Lewerke throws to the end zone is batted into the air and intercepted by Stanley Green for a touchback.
Michigan State 28, Illinois 3 (2:34 2nd)
Illinois runs more than three plays in single drive
Illinois takes over at the 30.
Dre Brown rushes for 2 yards on first down. Donny Navarro rushes for 2 yards on second down. Navarro catches a 12-yard pass from Brandon Peters on second down to make it first-and-goal at the Illinois 46.
Timeout #2 Michigan State (8:08 2nd)
Peters' next throw is incomplete. Josiah Scott hammers Navarro to break up the second-down throw. Peters is sacked for a loss of 6 on third down.
Blake Hayes' punt is fair caught at the 19.
Michigan State 28, Illinois 3 (7:05 2nd)
Another three-and-out for Michigan State offense
Elijah Collins loses 4 yards on first down. Brian Lewerke throws incomplete to Tre Mosley on second down. Lewerke hits Matt Seybert for 8 yards on third down.
Michigan State 28, Illinois 3 (9:10 2nd)
Michigan State nearly forces another turnover in Illinois territory
Illinois takes over at the 32.
Reggie Corbin on first down runs for a gain of 7. Brandon Peters throw on second down is caught, then fumbled, then picked up by Michigan State's David Dowell and returned to about Illinois' 10-yard-line. After review, though, it's ruled Daniel Barker never had control of the ball.
A 15-yard personal foul at the end of Dowell's fumble return will set up third-and-18 at the 34. Peters completes a 5-yard throw to Corbin.
Brandon Sowards waives for a fair catch at the Michigan State 29.
Michigan State 28, Illinois 3 (10:06 2nd)
Michigan State capitalizes on fumbled kickoff return, extends lead to 28-3
Illinois' Justice Williams muffs the kickoff, scoops it up, starts his return, then fumbles again at his 16. Michigan State picks it up and will start at the Illinois 21.
Julian Barnett takes his first carry of the game for a gain of 9. Brian Lewerke fires complete to Cody White for a 6-yard pickup that'll make it first-and-goal at the 6.
Elijah Collins reaches the pylon with ease. Touchdown, Spartans.
Michigan State 28, Illinois 3 (11:24 2nd)
Michigan State takes 21-3 lead against Illinois
Michigan State gets it at the 20 after a touchback.
Anthony Williams rushes for a gain of 4 yards on first down. Brian Lewerke on second down takes off for a gain of 9 yards that'll give the Spartans a first down at the 33.
Williams then rushes for 4 yards again on first down. Elijah Colilns fumbles on the next play, but recovers, a loss of 6.
END 1ST: Michigan State 14, Illinois 3
Lewerke on third down fires complete to Tre Mosley for an 11-yard gain.
Timeout #1 Michigan State (14:05 2nd)
Collins rushes for a 2-yard gain on fourth down to move the chains.
Lewerke's throw on first-and-10 from the 44 falls incomplete. On second down he finds Laress Nelson for a 19-yard hookup. It'll be first down at the Illinois 37.
Lewerke again throws incomplete to Mosley on first down before hitting Matt Seybert for a gain of 5 on the next play.
Lewerke gives the Spartans a three-score lead with an 18-yard touchdown throw to Mosley.
Michigan State 21, Illinois 3 (12:41 2nd)
Illinois offense struggling mightily early
Casey Washington hauls in a 4-yard pass on first down. Brandon Peters' throw on second down to Washington falls incomplete, and on third down, Peters is chased from the pocket before chucking it out of bounds.
Michigan State 14, Illinois 3 (1:53 1st)
Michigan State goes three-and-out for first time in game
Michigan State takes over at its 19.
Brian Lewerke's throw on first down is caught by Laress Nelson, but for a loss of 1. Elijah Collins then loses another yard on second down. Lewerke's third-down throw misses the mark.
Jake Hartbarger's punt is returned for no gain to the 36.
Michigan State 14, Illinois 3 (2:41 1st)
Michigan State defense forces another three-and-out
Cole Hahn's kickoff is returned 27 yards by Dre Brown to the 37.
Brown rushes for a gain of 2 on first down and 1 on second down. Brandon Peters is hit as he throws on third down, forcing an incompletion.
Michigan State 14, Illinois 3 (4:04 1st)
Lewerke scores 42-yard rushing touchdown
Michigan State will start its next drive at the 25.
Elijah Colins take the first-down carry for a gain of 13 before getting pushed out of bounds at the 38.
Brian Lewerke loses a yard on the next play, but then hits Cody White over the middle for a gain of 21, giving the Spartans a first down at the Illinois 42.
Lewerke fakes the give on first down and hits a huge hole to his right, running wild to the Michigan State end zone for a 42-yard rushing score. Lewerke catches an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, though, for his celebration.
Michigan State 14, Illinois 3 (5:39 1st)
Illinois cuts into Michigan State lead with field goal
A personal foul penalty on Illinois will be assessed to the kickoff. Cole Hahn's kickoff goes for a touchback.
Reggie Corbin on first down is wrapped up for no gain, but on second down, reaches the Illinois 36 for a gain of 11.
Corbin gets the next first-down carry, a gain of 1. Brandon Peters throws his first complete pass of the game to Dre Brown for a pickup of 4 that'll make it third-and-5 at the 41. Peters rolls to his right on third down and throws a strike to Justice Williams, who makes a great catch in his own right. Illinois has a first down at the Michigan State 26.
Peters' first-down throw to Donny Navarro falls incomplete. Brown rushes for 4 yards on second down, and Peters is dropped for no gain on third down.
James McCourt puts home a 40-yard field goal.
Michigan State 7, Illinois 3 (7:10 1st)
Michigan State takes 7-0 lead against Illinois on opening drive
Brian Lewerkes' throw on first down is behind intended receiver Tre Mosley and falls incomplete. Anthony Williams on second down is wrapped up for a loss of 2. Cody White comes down with a nice catch down the left sideline that's good for a gain of 18 yards and a first down at the 38.
White then catches a pass for 12 yards, making it first-and-10 at midfield.
Elijah Collins breaks free on the next play, his first carry of the game, cutting his way through the middle for a gain of 22 to the 28.
Collins gets it again on the next play, gaining 5. Matt Dotson puts Michigan State at the Illinois 5-yard-line with some yards after the catch.
White is wrapped up for a loss of 3 on a first-down carry. Collins gains 7 yards on the next play before officially going down at the 1, but it'll be reviewed to see if Collins was downed before losing the ball near the goal line, a fumble that was subsequently recovered by Illinois. The ruling stands, and Collins punches it in from a yard out on the next play.
Michigan State 7, Illinois 0 (10:07 1st)
Michigan State forces three-and-out on opening drive
Michigan State has won the toss and will defer.
Cole Hahn's kickoff is returned by Kerby Joseph 25 yards to the Illinois 35. Brandon Peters fumbles the snap and falls on it for a loss of 6 on the opening play. Peters' second-down throw to Casey Washington misses the mark and falls incomplete. Peters gets loose from the pocket and scrambles on third down, only getting 11 as Illinois will be forced to punt it away.
Blake Hayes' punt goes out of bounds at the Michigan State 22.
Michigan State 0, Illinois 0 (13:38 1st)
Michigan State is fresh off a bye, but is lugging with it a three-game losing streak as Illinois comes to East Lansing on Saturday. The Fighting Illini have won three straight. Follow along here for live updates from Detroit News contributor Nolan Bianchi.
ILLINOIS AT MICHIGAN STATE
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing
Records: Michigan State 4-4 (2-3 Big Ten), Illinois 5-4 (3-3)
Line: Michigan State by 14