(Photo credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)
Luke Altmyer passed for 303 yards and a touchdown to lead Illinois to a 23-17 win against visiting Florida Atlantic on Saturday afternoon.
Altmyer completed 25 of 36 passes, including eight for 120 yards to Isaiah Williams. Griffin Moore hauled in a 46-yard touchdown pass for Illinois (2-2), which finished with 510 total yards.
Reggie Love III had 85 of the 207 rushing yards for the Illini.
Daniel Richardson made his first start at quarterback for FAU after Casey Thompson tore his ACL in last Saturday's loss to Clemson and the junior transfer from Central Michigan completed 28 of 49 passes for 256 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
LaJohntay Wester caught 13 passes for 137 yards and one touchdown for the Owls (1-3).
Illinois started slow offensively and trailed 10-0 after the first quarter.
The Illini were stopped on downs on their opening drive and Altmyer lost a fumble on the second when he was sacked by Xavier Peters and Jayden Williams recovered at the Illinois 28-yard line.
Richardson quickly hit Wester for a 21-yard gain to the 7, but the Owls had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Logan Lupo for a 3-0 lead with 3:14 left in the opening quarter.
FAU started its next drive at the Illinois 38 following a 20-yard punt return by Wester that included an unnecessary roughing penalty on Illinois.
Three plays later, Richardson hit Wester for a 19-yard touchdown strike on the final play of the first quarter, stretching the lead to 10-0
The Ilini began chipping away when Altmyer hit Moore for a 46-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 10-7 with 12:46 left in the first half.
Illinois took its first lead of the game 14-10 on a 7-yard touchdown run by Altmyer with 1:45 left before halftime.
The Illini scored on their first drive of the second half when Aidan Laughery ran into the end zone from 3 yards to make it 20-10.
Caleb Griffin tacked on a 44-yard field goal with 3:57 left in the third quarter to stretch the lead to 23-10.
The Owls had the ball in the red zone twice in the third quarter but were stopped on downs the first time and Richardson was intercepted in the end zone on the second trip.
They scored with 4:19 left in the game on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Richardson to BJ Alexander to cut the lead to 23-17.
--Field Level Media