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The Day After: Illinois pulls off upset against Maryland



Illinois upsets Maryland
Oct 14, 2023; College Park, Maryland, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini place kicker Caleb Griffin (5) kicks a game winning field goal against the Maryland Terrapins at SECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois gets a walk-off field goal from Caleb Griffin to upset Maryland.

After kicker Caleb Griffin kicked the walk-off, game-winning field goal against the Maryland Terrapins, he and holder Hugh Robertson ran to the opposite side of the field and slid on their stomachs in celebration. Griffin and Roberston planned the celebration. “We were on the sideline, and they had a lot of fans chirping, and I kind of told Hugh, I was like, ‘Hey, when we make this game-winning kick, we’re going to run down like it’s a soccer game,’” Griffin said. “Like when you score a soccer goal, you run to the other end and head-first slide, and it’s perfect with the wet turf.”

Illinois played its best game of the season in the win on Saturday afternoon. The offense wasn’t super explosive, but they did not make the big mistake. The offense took advantage of opportunities. The defense kept them in the game and allowed the Illini to win in the fourth quarter. Here’s the good and bad from the game.

Illinois gave themselves a chance to win.

Coming into this game, the Illini were a 14-point underdog. Bret Bielema and his staff wanted an opportunity to win the game in the fourth quarter. Illinois led at halftime and held on to win the game. The Illini controlled the tempo of the game. Though quarterback Luke Altmyer had another turnover, the interception was not his fault. In addition, the offense did not commit back-breaking penalties or critical mistakes that stalled drives.

Maryland’s defense earned every defensive stop it got. Altmyer played arguably his best game of the season. Despite his numbers, the Mississippi transfer looked in control of the offense and did not put the football in harm’s way. His throw to Casey Washington late in the fourth quarter demonstrated his tools.

Illinois’ defense wasn’t dominant, but they held down a dangerous Maryland offense. The Illini sacked Taulia Tagovailoa three times and forced three fumbles.


Armchair Illini is a comprehensive site dedicated to covering University of Illinois Athletics owned and operated by Alex Kyi. Dante Pryor has been writing about College Football for years on Saturday Blitz and is now the Lead Football Author for Armchair Illini.