Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Tim Hiller threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Western Michigan Broncos to a 23-17 win over the Illinois Fighting Illini in a non-conference matchup at Ford Field.
Jamarko Simmons also had a big day in the passing game for WMU (8-2), catching 11 passes for 174 yards. Simmons now has a school-record 240 career receptions, as he became the first player in program history to catch at least 80 passes in consecutive seasons.
Illinois (5-5) quarterback Juice Williams threw for 328 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, while also leading the team with 68 yards on the ground. Arrelious Benn finished with 111 yards on seven receptions.
The Broncos drove 56 yards in 10 plays on their opening drive, which ended with a 31-yard field goal from John Potter.
Later in the first quarter, Illinois took the lead on a one-yard run by Jason Ford.
WMU answered with a 12-play, 70-yard drive, but once again could only get three points on a 22-yard field goal by Potter.
Soon after, Hiller and the Broncos offense went to work. Hiller connected with Robert Arnheim for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 9:06 remaining in the second quarter.
With 4:27 to play in the opening half, Hiller found Simmons for a 15-yard scoring strike to put the Broncos ahead, 20-7.
Illinois narrowed the gap to 20-10 on a 20-yard field goal by Matt Eller at the 4:08 mark of the third quarter.
But Potter answered with a 45-yarder on the first play of the fourth quarter to push the Broncos' lead to 23-10.
Illinois made it a six-point game with 12:30 to play, when Williams connected with Jeff Cumberland for a five-yard touchdown pass.
Pinned at their own one-yard line with 1:57 to play, the Fighting Illini made things interesting when Williams connected with A.J. Jenkins for a 54-yard completion down the sideline. But the Broncos forced four straight incompletions to seal the win.
The win was the Broncos' first-ever against Illinois.