Michael Bates engineered a game-tying drive in the closing moments of regulation and Eric Fisher intercepted a Millikin pass in overtime to seal a 34-30 win in Illinois College's season-opener at Millikin University on Saturday.
Bates connected with Kevin Fuller on a 34-yard touchdown pass as time expired in regulation, then hit Brock Thompson on the two-point conversion to send the game into overtime. Bates then found Colin Duling on a 5-yard touchdown pass in overtime to put the Blueboys ahead.
The extra point was blocked and returned for two points by Millikin, but Eric Fisher made sure that didn't matter as he intercepted a Millikin pass on the Big Blue's first play of overtime to salt away the win.
"The kids never stopped playing. They played all the way to the end," said Illinois College interim head coach Ray DeFrisco. "The kids never gave up."
Illinois College scored first on Saturday when Bates threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Brock Thompson. Matt Williamson and Cecil Brimmage scored rushing touchdowns to give the Blueboys a 20-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Millikin scored a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to take an eight-point lead, only to see it slip away with Illinois College's late drive.
Bates threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns for IC. Williamson and Brimmage ran for 74 and 99 yards, respectively. Tim Denney and Carter Cox made eight tackles apiece for the IC defense.
"This is a great win to get us on track for the conference schedule," DeFrisco said. "If there's any type of situation that comes up in another game, chances are we've already seen it after this game."