CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Daniel Dufrene had a career-high 126 yards rushing and Matt Eller's late field goal helped No. 24 Illinois hold off Louisiana-Lafayette for a 20-17 win Saturday.
Dufrene rushed 19 times and caught a touchdown pass for Illinois (2-1), which took a 20-10 lead on Eller's 27-yard kick with 1:40 left.
But Illinois didn't put the game away until Garrett Edwards recovered an onside kick attempt by Louisiana-Lafayette (0-2) with less than 20 seconds left.
Ragin' Cajun quarterback Michael Desormeaux brought Louisiana-Lafayette to life in the last six minutes. The left-handed senior ran for a 34-yard touchdown that made the score 17-10 and, after Eller's field goal, hit tight end Erik Jones for an 11-yard touchdown that set up the onside kick.
Desormeaux finished with a team-best 42 yards rushing on 14 carries and one touchdown. He completed 25 of 35 passes for 200 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.
Illinois quarterback Juice Williams entered Saturday averaging 92 yards rushing and 287 yards passing a game.
Against the Ragin' Cajuns, he completed 13 of 25 passes for 147 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He rushed 11 times for 35 yards.
Williams led the Illini on only one sustained drive -- 11 plays and 96 yards -- that ended with Dufrene's 10-yard second-quarter touchdown. The junior running back caught a short pass from Williams and dove for the corner of the end zone, tucking the ball just inside the pylon.
The Illini took the 17-3 lead into halftime, but didn't score again until Eller's field goal.
Williams' top target, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, caught five passes for 74 yards.
Illini linebacker Brit Miller scored the game's first touchdown, stripping the ball from Desormeaux's arms with just over seven minutes left in the first quarter and running 26 yards untouched into the end zone for a 10-0 lead.
Louisiana-Lafayette running back Tyrell Fenroy carried the 14 times for 20 yards, enough to make him the school's career rushing leader with 3,346 yards, nine better than previous record-holder Brian Mitchell.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
APTV 09-13-08 1529CDT