Brandon Peters hit Daniel Barker with a 5-yard touchdown pass with five seconds to play as Illinois erased a 25-point deficit and defeated Michigan State 37-34 on Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.
It was the largest comeback in school history and the Fighting Illini (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) won their fourth in a row to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2014.
The Spartans (4-5, 2-4) have lost four in a row and need two wins over the last three weeks to be bowl eligible.
Peters threw for a career-high 369 yards and three touchdowns and Josh Imatorbhebhe had four catches for 178 yards and two scores.
It was all Michigan State in the first half as Elijah Collins, who rushed for 170 yards, had a pair of touchdown runs. Quarterback Brian Lewerke also ran for a score and hit Tre Mosley for an 18-yard touchdown as the Spartans built a 28-3 lead.
But it was all Illinois in the second half as Michigan State managed only a pair of field goals and the Illini took advantage of three Lewerke interceptions and a fumble.
Two Lewerke interceptions off tipped passes -- one in the end zone -- stalled a pair of MSU drives in the second quarter when MSU had a chance to put the game away.
Illinois took advantage, getting a 46-yard touchdown pass from Peters to Imatorbhebhe on the final play of the first half to cut the deficit to 28-10.
A field goal put the Spartans up 31-10 early in the third quarter before Illinois erupted for 27 points in the fourth quarter.
The Illini got the rally started with an 83-yard TD pass from Peters to Imatorbhebhe. Four minutes later, Illinois was back in the end zone as Reggie Corbin scored on a 6-yard run to make it 31-24 with 11:06 left in the game.
Sydney Brown then intercepted Lewerke and returned it 76 yards for a score. After a missed extra point, MSU got another field goal to go up 34-30. But Illinois then drove 75 yards in 13 plays for the winning score to complete the comeback.
--Field Level Media