CHAMPAIGN — Payton Thorne passed for 182 yards and two touchdowns as Michigan State ended a troubling week where eight players were suspended by defeating No. 14 Illinois 23-15 on Saturday.
The Spartans’ players were suspended for a post-game fight against Michigan last week. Michigan State’s defense stopped the Illini five times on fourth down.
Time ran out on an Illinois comeback after it had advanced to the Michigan State 25. The Illini suffered their first home loss of the season and had a six-game winning streak snapped.
Chase Brown rushed for 136 yards for Illinois, his tenth consecutive game with at least 100 rushing yards. Quarterback Tommy DeVito threw for 288 yards and a pair of touchdowns, both to Isaiah Williams.
The victory boosted the Spartans bowl hopes. They need to win two of their last three to qualify for the postseason.
Illinois remains in first place in the Big Ten West, one game ahead of Purdue. The Boilermakers lost at home to Iowa on Saturday. They visit Memorial Stadium on Saturday to face the Illini, in a game that could decide the division winner.