Illinois had a rough day against Michigan, but the Illini showed some life in a second-half burst.

The Wolverines dominated the first half and carried a 28-7 lead into the break. Without starting quarterback Brandon Peters, it looked like the Illini were destined for a particularly ugly showing.

Fortunately, the second half was a different story. Illinois scored 18 unanswered points after halftime to close the deficit to just three points. After that, Michigan woke up and poured on 14 points to put the game to bed and out of reach.

While the game was another loss, it was nevertheless an encouraging sign against a ranked opponent. After the game, head coach Lovie Smith addressed what it means moving forward.

Smith admitted that this season has been disappointing, but just like this game, there’s the opportunity for a second-half surge:

Hopefully, Illinois uses this game as a learning experience and springboard to improve on its season.