12:35 a.m. Update: Illinois falls to Fresno State, 25-23.
Too bad the offense couldn’t get back on the field with a little more time.
The Illini got shafted after a bad placement on a fourth-and-one run by Fresno State.
Unfortunately, Illinois got in an early 16-0 hole and never got back to even on Friday night.
The Illini finish the regular season 6-6 but will be heading to a bowl game.
Three weeks later, that Minnesota loss really hurts.
Illinois should be no worse than 7-5 but aren’t after losing three of its last four games.
At least the Illini will be in a bowl game, which is saying something for a program that’s been swing but mostly miss in the past decade.
12:34 a.m. Update: Eddie McGee is sacked, and the clock runs out.
12:34 a.m. Update: Eddie McGee is in at quarterback and has his pass knocked down with :12 seconds left.
12:33 a.m. Update: Jack Ramsey fair catches the ball at the Illinois 9-yard line with :18 seconds left and no timeouts left.
The Illini will need a miracle.
12:32 a.m. Update: Illinois holds on third down but Fresno State runs down the clock before taking a penalty with :23 seconds left.
Illinois trails 25-23.
Fresno State has had the ball for more than eight minutes here.
12:30 a.m. Update: Illinois holds on second down and uses its last timeout with 1:08 to go.
Illinois is trailing 25-23.
Fresno State is facing a third and five.
12:28 a.m. Update: Illinois has taken its second to last timeout with 1:14 to go.
Fresno State is facing a second and eight at the Illinois 40.
12:26 a.m. Update: Thomas has been carted off the field.
12:24 a.m. Update: Illinois stops Fresno State on first down but loses Ian Thomas for what looks to be the rest of the season.
Thomas clearly broke his leg on the tackle.
He is down on the ground, and ESPN has gone to a television timeout.
Illinois trails 25-23 with 2:51 to go, but the bigger concern right now is Thomas, who just suffered a really horrific-looking injury.
12:22 a.m. Update: Of course, the play calls as stand.
That was a chicken-crap call if there ever was one.
Anyways, Illinois trails 25-23 with 2:51 to go.
The Illini have two timeouts to go.
12:21 a.m. Update: I’ll be shocked if the refs overrule this call.
Illinois stopped them short, but where will the referees spot the ball?
Let’s see what the call is.
12:18 a.m. Update: Fresno State goes for it on fourth down and looks as if it was stopped by the Illini.
However, the referees gave the Bulldogs a very good spot.
Illinois needs to challenge this spot if it turns out to be a first down.
Fresno State got the first down and has the ball at its own 47.
Illinois takes a timeout and challenges the play.
Illinois trails 25-23 with a little more than three minutes left.
12:15 a.m. Update: Illinois cornerback Terry Hawthorne makes a huge tackle at the sticks to force a fourth-and-one with 3:18 to go.
Fresno State has taken the timeout.
Will the Bulldogs go for it on fourth down or punt to the Illini?
12:12 a.m. Update: Fresno State picks up the first down on third and ten.
The Bulldogs lead the Illini 25-23 with 5:30 left in the game.
12:10 a.m. Update: Fresno State is facing a third-and-ten deep in its own territory, but has taken a timeout.
The Bulldogs lead the Illini 25-23 with 6:30 to go.
Illinois had stopped Fresno State earlier on this drive before Tavon Wilson was called for a late hit after an incomplete pass on third down.
12:02 a.m. Update: Illinois can not sustain a drive and punts the ball inside the Fresno State 10-yard line.
The Illini trail 25-23 with a little less than 10 minutes to go in the game.
11:53 p.m. Update: After the Illini special teams allowed yet another long kickoff return following a score, the Illinois defense holds in its own territory to force a punt.
Illinois will have the ball inside its 10-yard line, trailing 25-23 with 13:22 left in the game.
11:48 p.m. Update: Illinois scores on the first play of the fourth quarter, with Scheelhaase scampering in for a touchdown, but are unsuccessful on the two-point conversion that would have tied the game.
Illinois trails 25-23 with 14:55 remaining in the game.
11:45 p.m. Update: Thanks to a 50-yard run by Mikel Leshoure, Illinois has the ball inside the Fresno State 25-yard line at the end of the third quarter, with the Illini trailing the Bulldogs 25-17.
11:43 p.m. Update: Illinois holds Fresno State and forces a punt.
11:38 p.m. Update: Nathan Scheelhaase can’t convert on a third-and-five pass.
Illinois punts inside the Fresno State 30-yard line and trails 25-17 with 2:45 left in the third quarter.
11:32 p.m. Update: Fresno State marches right down the field for a touchdown, but Illinois holds on a two-point conversion attempt by the Bulldogs.
Illinois now trails 25-17 with 5:11 left in the third quarter.
The Illini secondary has been a sieve tonight.
11:21 p.m. Update: Wow!
Illinois comes out of the half and gets seven points on a 17-play drive that took eight minutes off the clock.
Nathan Scheelhaase just made a nasty touchdown pass to AJ Jenkins.
Scheelhaase was forced to scramble on an all-out Fresno State blitz and lofted the ball to Jenkins in the end zone just before getting forced out of bounds.
Scheelhaase is to the Illini football team what Jereme Richmond is to the basketball squad: a gamer.
After trailing 16-0 at one point, Illinois is now down 19-17 with 6:56 to go in the third quarter.
10:47 p.m. Update: Michael Buchanan stuffs out any hopes of Fresno State driving down the field with a great tackle on first down, and the Bulldogs run out the clock to send the game to halftime.
Illinois trails 19-10 at the break but will receive the ball first in the third quarter.
10:45 p.m. Update: After Illinois holds Fresno State and then stalls on offense, Derek Dimke misses just short on a 49-yard field goal.
Illinois trails 19-10 with 47 seconds left in the first half.
10:34 p.m. Update: Illinois does nothing after the turnover, losing 10 yards and punting the football.
10:31 p.m. Update: Illinois gets a big turnover, recovering a Fresno State fumble at the Bulldogs’ 46.
10:23 p.m. Update: Well, Illinois responds with a quick drive and score to cut the Fresno State lead to 19-10 with 7:25 to go in the second quarter.
A 4-play, 60-yard drive was capped off by a long touchdown run by Mikel Leshoure and kept alive on a big third-down conversion when Nathan Scheelhaase hits AJ Jenkins over the middle of the field.
That pass and catch was Illinois’ first reception of the game.
10:18 p.m. Update: Fresno State drills a 52-yard field goal with 9:10 to go in the second quarter to take a 19-3 lead.
Illinois hasn’t been able to stop the Bulldogs, which has scored on all four drives tonight.
Just after Derek Dimke got Illinois on the board with a field goal, Fresno State returned the ensuing kickoff 40 yards.
It looks like the offense will be playing catch up all night long.
10:10 p.m. Update: Illinois trails 16-3 after an 18-yard field goal by Derek Dimke with 11:56 to go in the second quarter.
Nathan Scheelhaase got the Illini going with his legs on that possession, but Illinois was unable to punch the ball into the end zone on three rushing attempts inside the 10-yard line.
Fresno State is winning the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
10:03 p.m. Update: Do you want the good news or the bad news first?
Here’s the bad: Illinois trails 16-0 at the end of the first quarter.
As for the good, Nathan Scheelhaase just ripped off a huge run to the Fresno State 26-yard line on the final play of the first quarter.
10:00 p.m. Update: Fresno State drills a 45-yard field goal to take a 16-0 lead with 1:29 to go in the first quarter.
Thank goodness Illinois beat Northwestern two weeks ago, because if tonight’s game was a must win…
9:55 p.m. Update: Illinois does nothing on its second drive.
Trailing 13-0 with 3:40 to go in the first quarter, the Illini have dug an early hole.
This team is not suited for making comebacks.
9:48 p.m. Update: Well, the Illini certainly look rusty here as Fresno State hits on a 78-yard touchdown pass off a play-action fake on the first play of the second Bulldogs’ drive.
Illinois trails 13-0 with 5:36 to go.
9:46 p.m. Update: Illinois doesn’t generate much offense on its first drive, leading to a punt.
Fresno State will have the ball around the Illinois 10-yard line with just under 6 minutes to go and a 6-0 lead.
9:32 p.m. Update: Fresno State scores on the first drive of the game but has the PAT blocked by Illinois senior defensive end Clay Nurse. Illinois trails 6-0 with 11:06 to go in the first quarter.