One play changed the entire tone of the Michigan-Illinois football game
It started with a replay, ended with a replay and the result changed the trajectory of the Michigan-Illinois football game Saturday.
Wide receiver Roy Roundtree thought he was in the end zone, the culmination of a 76-yard pass play from freshman quarterback Tate Forcier that would have given Michigan a two-possession lead in the third quarter.
Then came a review from upstairs and the official found Roundtree down before the goal line, giving Michigan what seemed to be a sure opportunity for points in Illinois’ 38-13 win over the Wolverines.
“You can’t really look back,” Roundtree said of the play. “They always say run and look ahead. I thought I had it, you know, but challenged play, and I was down at the 1.”
Terry Hawthorne ran Roundtree down and caught him just before he crossed into the end zone.
Illinois coach Ron Zook said it might be the play of the year for the Illini.
“Holy smokes,” Zook said. “Terry has a lot of speed, and I don’t think he realizes how fast he is. We’ve talked about letting the plays come to you, and Terry made an unbelievable play.
“A lot of guys would’ve quit, but Terry didn’t quit, and he made the play of the game, maybe even the play of the year.”
Hawthorne’s play made Michigan try to punch it in from the 1-yard line, but Michigan ran Carlos Brown three times and Brown was stuffed three times. Then Michigan put in Brandon Minor to go for it on fourth down, and the senior was denied, his elbow touching down just before the goal line after a replay review.
Sitting 99 yards from the Michigan end zone, Illinois then systematically moved down the field for the first time since the opening possession of the game to score and take a 14-13 lead.
“Juice Williams got alive a little bit,” Michigan associate head coach/secondary coach Tony Gibson said. “They had us off balance with the run and the pass and we couldn’t respond.
“We had an opportunity to go up 20-7, I think, and then they went 99 yards, got all the momentum and we couldn’t get it back.”
Illinois then blew the game open, using Hawthorne’s play as its motivating factor.
Said Hawthorne: “It turned the whole game around.”