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College football top plays: Hoosiers win thriller over Illini

Week 1 of the college football season kicked off with a special Thursday night slate of games and continued into Friday.

Michigan State took care of Western Michigan 35-13, while Indiana narrowly defeated Illinois 23-20.

On Thursday, Penn State went on the road and took down Big Ten foe Purdue 35-31, and Minnesota shut out visiting New Mexico State 38-0.

In addition, No. 17 Pittsburgh narrowly escaped West Virginia 38-31, and No. 12 Oklahoma State held off Central Michigan 58-44 after the Chippewas came back from a 26-point deficit.

Let’s take a look at Friday’s top plays.

Indiana 23, llinois 20

What a hit!

Illinois linebacker Devon Witherspoon opened up Friday’s game with a bang — literally. He hit Indiana running back Shaun Shivers hard in the backfield to force an incompletion. 

Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon lays a HUGE hit on Indiana’s Shaun Shivers

The Illinois Fighting Illini received a huge boost after Devon Witherspoon laid the BOOM on Shaun Shivers from the Indiana Hoosiers.

The hit had the rest of the Illini defense fired up. 

Catching them off guard

The Indiana defense appeared confused prior to the snap, allowing Illinois receiver Isaiah Williams to run into the end zone and give Illinois a 7-3 lead. 

Illinois’ Isaiah Williams rushes for a five-yard touchdown

Williams’ score gave the Fighting Illini a 7-3 lead early.


Indiana’s Alfred Bryant delivered a solid blow to Illinois tight end Luke Ford, jarring the ball free and allowing the Hoosiers to recover and give them good field position. 

Airing it out for the score

Indiana quarterback Connor Bazelak found D.J. Matthews deep for a 52-yard touchdown pass to put the Hoosiers up 10-7. 

Indiana takes a 10-7 lead after Connor Bazelak finds D.J. Matthews Jr.

The Indiana Hoosiers took a 10-7 lead over the Illinois Fighting Illini after Connor Bazelak connected with D.J. Matthews Jr. on a 52-yard touchdown pass.

Questionable call?

Illinois receiver Brian Hightower appeared to win the jump ball, but the refs ruled the pass incomplete. What do you say?

The Illini ended up settling for a field goal on the drive to even the score at 10.

He’s got space!

Cam Camper gets the 39 yards by making the play after the reception, setting Indiana up for a field goal to take a 13-10 lead.

A brouhaha breaks out

Some scuffling took place between Illinois and Indiana players following the Hoosiers’ field goal to go up 16-10 before halftime.

Illinois takes the lead back

The play-action helped Hightower slip open and make a play for a 16-yard touchdown, putting the Illini up 17-16.

Illinois takes a 17-16 lead after Tommy DeVito finds Brian Hightower

The Illinois Fighting Illini took a 17-16 lead over the Indiana Hoosiers after Tommy DeVito found Brian Hightower on a 16-yard TD pass.

Momentum changer!

Indiana knocked the ball out of Chase Brown’s arms to force the fumble and get the recovery, getting the ball back as the Illini were near the red zone. 

Goal line stand!

Indiana made the huge stop on fourth down to keep Illinois’ lead at one. 

Another Illinois turnover

As the Illini were driving, Indiana picked off Tommy DeVito’s deep pass. The Hoosiers still trailed by one. 

Illinois gets it back!

The Illini force a fumble right after the interception to get the ball in Indiana territory late in the fourth. 

Indiana takes the lead!

The Hoosiers completed the fourth quarter comeback by driving down the field and watching

Shaun Shivers gives Indiana the victory

Shaun Shivers gives the Indiana Hoosiers the victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini on a one-yard rushing touchdown.

 Shivers run in the one-yard score to go up 23-20. 

Indiana would win by that score.

Michigan St. 35, Western Michigan 13

Showing off the boot!

Michigan State didn’t score on its opening drive, which allowed punter Bryce Baringer to kick a 68-yard punt that placed Western Michigan within its five-yard line for its first drive. 

First score of the season for the Spartans

Germie Bernard took a slant pass 44 yards for the score, putting Michigan State up 7-3 in the first quarter.

Doing it one-handed

Daniel Barker made the impressive one-handed grab in the back corner of the end zone to put Michigan State up 14-3. 

Making the deep connection

Payton Thorne found Keon Coleman deep to connect for a 41-yard touchdown pass, putting the Spartans up 21-3 in the second quarter. 

Getting some breathing room

After going scoreless for much of the second half, Michigan State gets a touchdown from Jalen Berger who pounds one in to put the Spartans up 28-13 in the fourth. 

Penn State 35, Purdue 31


Penn State QB Sean Clifford made a clutch third-down play in the second quarter, connecting with wideout Mitchell Tinsley for a 12-yard touchdown to give the Nittany Lions the lead and their first TD of the season.

Sean Clifford shows composure on Penn State’s opening TD

Sean Clifford avoided the pressure and threw an impressive touchdown to Mitchell Tinsley to help Penn State grab an early 7-3 lead against Purdue.

Too tough

Purdue’s King Doerue ran straight through the Penn State defense — stiff arm and all — on his way to the end zone, giving the Boilermakers back the lead 10-7 early in the second quarter.


The Nittany Lions came up with back-to-back TDs ahead of halftime. 

First, Clifford fought his way into the end zone for six points. Then, they capitalized on a turnover with a 67-yard TD courtesy of Brenton Strange.

King of the ground game

Purdue’s Doerue helped close the gap to 21-17 in the third quarter with a smooth 2-yard TD run.


The teams were neck and neck after trading TDs, but Purdue took the lead in the fourth, 31-28, after Clifford’s pass was intercepted by safety Chris Jefferson and returned 72 yards to the house.

Chris Jefferson’s pick-six gives Purdue lead

Chris Jefferson helped Purdue gain the lead again midway through the fourth quarter, thanks to his pick-six against Penn State.

Late-quarter surge

Clifford tossed a TD to Keyvone Lee with just under a minute left, and that was enough as Penn State held on for the win.

Minnesota 38, New Mexico State 0

Hot start

Minnesota was first on the board thanks to star running back Mohamed Ibrahim, who returned this year for a sixth season with the Golden Gophers.

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis …

Double trouble

Ibrahim started the second quarter the same way he started the first — with a score. Then, Minnesota snuck another one in as the clock expired in the first half.

Just like that, the Golden Gophers jumped out to a 24-0 lead at the break.

More of the same

Minnesota continued to dominate the ground game, cashing in for their fifth rushing score of the night to seal the deal.

No. 17 Pittsburgh 38, West Virginia 31

Just how he drew it up

WVU had a scare when quarterback JT Daniels, a transfer from Georgia, bobbled the snap, but things turned out just fine for the Mountaineers on this drive.

Coming through!

WVU took the lead in the second quarter when Bryce Ford-Wheaton turned on the jets for a 10-yard TD.

All-out effort

WVU came up huge on special teams early in the third quarter, blocking Pitt’s punt, which resulted in a short field and a quick score for the Mountaineers.

Fighting back

Pitt answered with back-to-back scores to close out the third quarter. First, Daniel Carter found the end zone with ease after a massive gain from Jared Wayne. Then, Pitt regained the lead thanks to Rodney Hammond.

Rising to the occasion

Daniels connected with Ford-Wheaton once again, this time for a 16-yard TD, followed by taking it in himself on a QB sneak on the Panthers’ next drive, good for a 31-24 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Down to the wire

Pitt fired back with two consecutive scores to take lead late in the fourth quarter. QB Kedon Slovis found Israel Abanikanda for a 24-yard catch-and-run score. Then, the Panthers picked off Daniels for the monster pick-six to win it.

M.J. Devonshire intercepts JT Daniels in the Backyard Brawl

M.J. Devonshire intercepts West Virginia’s JT Daniels and takes it in for the touchdown to give the Pitt Panthers the wild victory in the Backyard Brawl.

No. 12 Oklahoma State 58, Central Michigan 44

House call!

Oklahoma State was first on the board when John Paul Richardson broke off for a monster 45-yard touchdown off a quick pass from QB Spencer Sanders.

John Paul Richardson shows off his athleticism in 45-yard TD

John Paul Richardson helped the Oklahoma State Cowboys score their first touchdown of the season, thanks to impressive reception in the first quarter.

Tie game

Central Michigan was quick to answer with a score of its own, evening things up early in the first quarter.

Too easy

The Oklahoma State defense showed up in a big way, forcing a safety to put the Cowboys up 9-7 with less than a minute remaining in the opening frame.

With momentum on its side, Oklahoma State extended its lead to 16-7 as the first quarter came to a close.

Spencer Sanders extends Oklahoma State’s lead

Spencer Sanders’ electric 17-yard rushing touchdown gave the Oklahoma State Cowboys a 16-7 lead against Central Michigan.

When it rains, it pours

Sanders & Co. continued to pour it on the Chippewas as the second quarter got underway.

Sanders connects with Braydon Johnson for 13-yard TD

QB Spencer Sanders connects with Braydon Johnson for a 13-yard touchdown to put Oklahoma State up 23-7.

More of the same

Midway through the second frame, Sanders found running back Jaden Nixon, who took off for a 17-yard score thanks to some fancy footwork. 

On the following drive, Sanders came up with his second rushing TD of the day. Just like that, it was a 30-point game, 37-7.

Déjà vu

Central Michigan showed up on the ensuing drive, thanks to RB Lew Nichols‘ short 4-yard scamper into the end zone. The Chippewas followed that up with a successful two-point conversion for good measure.

It didn’t take long for Oklahoma State to return the favor, however, as Dominic Richardson punched it in to make it 44-15 headed into the break.

No slowing down

The Cowboys picked up in the second half right where they left off. Sanders found Bryson Green in the corner of the end zone for a quick score.

Spencer Sanders finds Bryson Green for 7-yard TD

Oklahoma State Cowboys’ QB Spencer Sanders took part in his sixth touchdown of the game, connecting with Bryson Green on a 7-yard TD pass.

Hot hands

CMU was quick to answer, as Jalen McGaughy reeled in a difficult pass under pressure for the Chippewas’ TD.

Finding its footing

Then, Central Michigan capped off a three-play, 39-yard drive with another TD to close the gap, 51-28.

Back and forth

Both teams traded off TDs late in the fourth quarter. OSU’s Zach Middleton punched one in for the Cowboys — their seventh TD of the night — followed by CMU’s Nichols popping off for a 15-yard TD.

Too little, too late

Despite the loss, CMU had the last word in this one, as McGaughy ended things with a 54-yard TD catch.

CMU’s Daniel Richardson connects with Jalen McGaughy for 54-yard TD

QB Daniel Richardson connects with Jalen McGaughy for a 54-yard touchdown.

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