Illinois and Indiana met in Bloomington on Friday night in an important Big Ten East-West crossover game.

The first half was sloppy. Turnovers? Check. Drops? Check, particularly on Illinois’ side:

The officials also had a rough go of things, as this apparent touchdown catch by Brian Hightower was ruled incomplete, even after a review:

Indiana QB Connor Bazelak, a transfer from Mizzou, was up and down, but this throw to DJ Matthews was an absolute beauty:

Indiana took a 16-10 lead into halftime, but things got chippy late in the second quarter (even if there weren’t any punches like Tim Brando claimed on the FOX broadcast):

Illinois scored to take a 17-16 lead in the third quarter, but in the fourth quarter, the Indiana defense made some big plays to keep the Hoosiers within reach. First, there was an epic goal-line stand, where Indiana stopped 4-straight Illini runs:

The ensuing offensive possession was a quick 3-and-out for the Hoosiers, but the defense came up big for Tom Allen’s squad once again on Illinois’ next drive.

The Hoosiers snagged a key interception after the Illinois receiver mistimed his jump:

That’s when Illinois’ defense said, “hey, we can make big plays, too,” forcing this clutch fumble:

Taz Nicholson was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty earlier in that Indiana drive, so he made up for it in a big way by forcing the key fumble.

After Illinois kicked a 48-yard field goal to take a 20-16 lead, Indiana had to drive 75 yards in just over 2 minutes with no timeouts. Well, that’s exactly what Bazelak did, calmly leading his best drive of the night before Auburn transfer RB Shaun Shivers plunged into the end zone to give Indiana the 23-20 lead (and the win by the same score).

Bazelak certainly endeared himself to his new fan base by shaking off a slow start to lead a touchdown drive when it mattered most.

Indiana (1-0) will host Idaho next weekend. Illinois (1-1) will take on Virginia at home.