It wasn't pretty, but Minnesota was good enough in a 17-3 win over Illinois on Saturday.
In a battle of sluggish offenses, Minnesota running back Donnell Kirkwood did most of the work, rushing for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Kirkwood's 3-yard run in the third quarter broke a 3-3 tie. He scored on a 12-yard run late in the fourth quarter to clinch the victory, giving his team its fourth straight win at Illinois.
Minnesota (6-4, 2-4 Big Ten) became bowl eligible for the first time since 2009, and won for the second time in three tries. Illinois (2-8, -6) has dropped seven straight including 12 in a row within Big Ten play.
The victory was the first Big Ten road win for second-year Minnesota coach Jerry Kill.
In their first eight possessions, the Illini had a 20-yard field goal by Nick Immekus in the first quarter, a fumble and six punts.