Illini end nonconference road losing streak 31-23 over UConn

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Brandon Peters set career highs, throwing for 225 yards and four touchdowns as Illinois overcame an early 13-point deficit to beat UConn 31-23 on Saturday.

It was the first nonconference road win for the Illini (2-0) in a dozen years.

Jakari Norwood had 62 yards to lead a rushing attack that accounted for 130 yards.

Freshman Jack Zergiotis, making his first start, completed 21 of 31 passes for 275 yards for the Huskies (1-1).

UConn, a three-touchdown underdog, jumped out to an early lead when defensive back Tyler Coyle stepped in front of a Brandon Peters pass in the first quarter and returned it down the left sideline 52 yards. Clayton Harris added two early field goals.

But Ra’Von Bonner got the Illini rolling, taking a screen pass and weaving 28 yards down the right side for a score. That was the first of three second quarter touchdown passes for Peters, the Michigan transfer, and the Illini put up 24 unanswered points.

Illinois fumbled its first handoff after a 68-yard second half kickoff return from Dre Brown and UConn drove 59 yards, getting back in the game when Kevin Mensah dove into the end zone from 2 yards out.

But an interception by Dele Harding stopped a late UConn drive to preserve the win.

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