Illinois 34 - 40 Missouri: Big Comeback Falls Short

13 photos by Dan O'Brien

Illinois - Missouri - Arch Rivalry
An announced crowd of 62,352 watched the 2007 "Arch Rivalry" contest.

Illinois' big comeback against Missouri ended in the final minute of the 4th quarter when backup QB Eddie McGee threw an ill-advised pass into double coverage near the goal line, a pass which was intercepted by the Tiger's Pig Brown. McGee was thrust into the game when starting QB Juice Williams sustained a head injury in the 2nd quarter. Still, it was an impressive unplanned debut for the redshirt freshman, who threw for 257 yds and 1 TD, and nearly brought the Illini back from a 37-13 deficit.

Freshman WR Arrelious Benn was fantastic in his debut, leading the Illini with 5 catches for 74 yds, including a 4th down grab down the middle which kept the final drive alive. On the defensive side, J Leman had 20 tackles and Vontae Davis had 10 tackles plus a blocked punt & TD.

Mistakes were plentiful for Illinois, including a fumble by McGee on the Illini goal line which was scooped up and returned 100 yds by Mizzou's Pig Brown, who racked up a number of huge plays on defense. More turnovers and a Missouri punt return for a TD allowed the Tigers to gain a 37-13 advantage, before the Illini fought back to make a game of it and potentially win on the last-minute drive.

Game articles: Illini Lose Heartbreaker to Missouri, A Pig in a poke?, Backup QB can't quite rally Illini, Injury won't squeeze Juice. Official recap. Illinois vs Missouri game thread on the Illinois Loyalty Forums.

More photos after the jump...

Illinois - Missouri - Arch Rivalry

Illinois - Missouri - Arch Rivalry

Illinois - Missouri - Arch Rivalry
The Marching Illini performs pregame.

Illinois - Missouri - Arch Rivalry
Missouri QB Chase Daniel looks for a target in the 1st quarter.

Illinois - Missouri - Arch Rivalry
Teammates celebrate with Vontae Davis after he blocked a punt and returned it for the game's first touchdown.

Illinois - Missouri - Arch Rivalry
Backup redshirt freshman QB Eddie McGee took over in the 2nd quarter after Juice Williams left the game with a head injury.

Illinois - Missouri - Arch Rivalry
Pig Brown during his 100+ yd return of Eddie McGee's goal line fumble in the 2nd quarter.

Illinois - Missouri - Arch Rivalry
Jeff Wolfert connects on a 27 yd FG on the final play of the 2nd quarter to give the Tigers a 23-6 lead at halftime.

Illinois - Missouri - Arch Rivalry
Rashard Mendenhall gets into the endzone on a 4 yd run to cut the Missouri lead to 37-34.

Illinois - Missouri - Arch Rivalry

Illinois - Missouri - Arch Rivalry
Jeff Wolfert goes wide left on a 49 yd FG attempt, giving Illinois a chance to win with 2:51 left and down 6.

Illinois - Missouri - Arch Rivalry
Pig Brown steps in front of the Illini receiver (shielded from view in the photo) to intercept Eddie McGee at the 1 yd line with 0:51 to go, ending the Illini's comeback hopes.

Filed under: Illini Football, Illinois Loyalty Photos, Missouri Tigers

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