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Illinois Thwarts Late California Bid in a 17-15 Victory

September 17, 2000|From Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Defensive end Fred Wakefield batted down Kyle Boller's two-point conversion pass with 1:26 left Saturday as No. 19 Illinois defeated California, 17-15.

"We had no idea what they were going to do so we decided to just go play football," Illinois Coach Ron Turner said. "Fred's got good instincts."

California (1-1) had pulled within two points on Boller's 32-yard touchdown pass to Charon Arnold.

Illinois' offense was hampered in the first half because of bad field position and quarterback Kurt Kittner missed most of the second half after spraining a knee.

Kittner passed five yards to Josh Whitman on the first drive put the Illini (3-0) ahead, 7-0. In the second quarter, Kittner scored on a two-yard run to give Illinois a 14-2 lead.

Kittner limped around the sidelines after leaving during the first drive of the second half, but he was confident he will play Saturday against Michigan.

"It's a freak thing," Kittner said. "I'll be all right."

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