Illinois Football: 3 Takeaways from close home win against Toledo

Bret Bielema, Illinois football coach (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Bret Bielema, Illinois football coach (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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Illinois football overcame a 19-7 deficit to defeat the Toledo Rockets 30-28. 

Many football players imagine making the game-winning play, not Caleb Griffin. He did remember nailing a winning 3-pointer as a high school basketball player.

Griffin kicked a 29-yard field goal in the closing seconds to give Illinois a 30-28 victory over Toledo in the season opener for both teams on Saturday night. Griffin did not feel any pressure making the kick.

“It’s routine. I’ve been kicking in this stadium since I came to camp when I was 16 years old,” said Griffin, who grew up about 40 minutes east in Danville, Illinois. “I came to campus when I was 18 years old, and I’m 23 now, so you guys can do the math. I’ve kicked a lot of field goals on this field.”

“I was kicking in the direction that my parents sit in,” Griffin said. “They sit in that end zone. And I just felt like that was the coolest thing that I’ve probably ever done.”

Luke Altmyer threw for two touchdowns. Miles Scott returned an interception 48 yards for a score, and the Illini squeezed out the win in a back-and-forth game to start coach Bret Bielema’s third season.