Luke Altmyer threw a touchdown pass and ran for another and Isaiah Williams caught eight passes for 120 yards to lead Illinois to a 23-17 win over Florida Atlantic in a non-conference game Saturday.
It was a bounce-back game for Altmyer, who threw four interceptions in the 30-13 loss to Penn State last week and was benched in the fourth quarter. He completed 25 of 36 passes for 303 yards and wasn't picked off.
Florida Atlantic's Daniel Richardson, in his first start after Casey Thompson suffered a season-ending ACL tear, completed 28 of 49 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns. Richardson was intercepted in the end zone by Nicario Harper early in the fourth quarter.
After falling behind 10-0, the Illini (2-2) rallied to lead 14-10 at halftime and pulled away from Florida Atlantic (1-3) in the third quarter before the Owls scored a late touchdown.
Aidan Laughery scored on a 2-yard run early in the quarter, capping an eight-play, 94-yard drive that included a 45-yard pass from Altmyer to Williams. Caleb Griffin added a 44-yard field goal later in the quarter.
After committing five turnovers against Penn State, the Illinois offense started slowly.
The Illini marched to the Owls' 19 on their first drive, then turned the ball over on downs.
On Illinois' second possession, Altmyer was sacked by Xavier Peters, fumbled, and Jayden Williams recovered for the Owls at the Illinois 28. That led to a 22-yard field goal by Logan Lupo that gave Florida Atlantic a 3-0 lead.
After an Owls' touchdown on a 19-yard pass from Richardson to LaJohntay Wester, Illinois got back into the game on a trick play. Altmyer took a pitch on a reverse flea flicker and threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Griffin Moore.
Illinois grabbed a 14-10 halftime lead on a 7-yard run by Altmyer that capped an 8-play, 85-yard drive.,
Florida Atlantic: Wester, the Owls' career reception leader, was as good as advertised. He had 13 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown.
Illinois: The Illini defense finally looked like the nationally ranked Illinois defense of 2022, holding Florida Atlantic to 97 yards on the ground.
Florida Atlantic: After a bye week, the Owls will play host to Tulsa on Oct.7.
Illinois: The Illini will play at Purdue next Saturday.
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