Shannon Brooks rushed for 174 yards and three touchdowns, including a 75-yard romp into the end zone with 1:25 remaining for Minnesota to seal a 32-23 victory over Illinois on Saturday.
Mitch Leidner threw a third-and-goal touchdown pass to Rashad Still with 5 seconds left before halftime, helping the Golden Gophers (5-6, 2-5 Big Ten) stop a four-game losing streak.
Malik Turner caught 11 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown from Wes Lunt for the Fighting Illini (5-6, 2-5), who outgained the Gophers 432-343 in total yardage and had the ball for more than two-thirds of the second half.
Taylor Zalewski's third field goal of the game brought the Illini within one point with 6:56 remaining, and the Gophers were forced to punt for a third time in the second half. The Illini took over with a one-point deficit and less than 5 minutes left at the 16, and an 11-yard sack by Julian Huff pushed them back.
Coach Bill Cubit called a screen pass that gained 2 yards on third-and-21 and then a punt, giving the Gophers the ball back. Brooks, the freshman from Atlanta, took care of the rest. Leidner ran in for the 2-point conversion to put the game out of reach.