IL was down 28-3 against Michigan State and came back to win 37-34, completing the largest comeback in program history.
IL (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) trailed 28-3 in the second quarter and 31-10 entering the fourth.
IL scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the final of which was a 4-yard toss from quarterback Brandon Peters to tight end Daniel Barker with:05 seconds left, sending bowl-eligible IL into celebration, and flat-lining Michigan State into despair. They ended up losing 37-34 on an Illini touchdown with five seconds left. It wasn't so much a Hail Mary as it was just a long pass to a single-covered receiver deep down the field - the first of several puzzling mistakes by Michigan State.
IL football has become bowl eligible for the first time under Lovie Smith following a remarkable win against Michigan State.
The loss drops hapless Michigan State to 4-5 overall.
The Illini defense, which was the sixth-worst in the Big Ten in opponents points per game coming into Saturday night, held the Spartans to six second-half points and scored a touchdown on an exciting 76-yard interception return.
Lewerke stayed in the game on the ensuing possession, and the Spartans kicked a field goal to extend their lead to 34-30. They've now forced 26 turnovers on the season, and that helped them get back in this one.
Illinois: The Illini are off next weekend before playing at Iowa on November 23.