Late in the first half, things were getting ugly for Illinois. The Fighting Illini were on the road and trailing Michigan State 28-3.

Nothing was going Illinois’ way. But then, an interception jolted energy within Lovie Smith’s group.

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Take a look at the improbable interception:

The ball gets knocked loose by the defender thanks to a perfectly-timed hit and then safety Stanley Green takes the ball from mid-air. Again, Illinois needed that.

On the ensuing drive, quarterback Brandon Peters pulled off an unthinkable Hail Mary to close the first half and bring the score to 28-10:

Peters almost fumbled the ball here because of the Spartans’ defensive lineman, yet he regathers it and flings the ball to Josh Imatorbhebhe, who makes a great play on the ball in the end zone.

It only takes a couple of plays to turn the tide of a football game. The 18-point deficit is still a big one to overcome, but Illinois got the boost it needed.

We’ll find out in the second half if it can help lead to a comeback for the ages.