CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Twenty-four hours after Illinois lost 27-20 to Minnesota, Illini football coach Ron Zook struggled to explain what went wrong.
Zook said that any team like Illinois that rolls up 550 yards of offense, while holding the other team to around 300, should win.
Minnesota's big-play defense was a big reason for the loss.
The Gophers sacked Illini quarterback Juice Williams five times and forced three turnovers.
Minnesota is now 6-1 and 2-1 in the Big Ten.
Gopher defensive end Willie VanDeSteeg had three sacks yesterday and he said he and his teammates worked hard in the off-season to improve.
The loss dropped Illinois to 3-3, and 1-2 in the Big Ten.
Next Saturday the Illini host Indiana.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)