Barefoot kicker Mike Bass made three field goals and Tony Eason passed for 301 yards and a touchdown in the Illini's seventh straight victory at home over two seasons.
A key play for Illinois (2-0) came midway through the third quarter, with the Spartans (0-1) leading, 16-13. Craig Swoope intercepted a pass at the Illinois 21, returning it 40 yards. Eason completed a 37-yard pass to Mike Martin, and Joe Curtis scored from the two moments later.
The game was delayed almost 20 minutes when referee Richard McVay collapsed on the field about 10 minutes before the end of the first half. McVay, 55, died at a nearby hospital, apparently of a heart attack.
Minnesota 57, Ohio 3: The Gophers scored on four successive plays, including 64- and 67-yard passes by Mike Hohensee and a 65-yard run by Tony Hunter, in the season opener for both teams.
Hohensee completed 17 of 28 passes for 322 yards in the first college game in the Metrodome. The Gophers set a school record for total offense with 742 yards; the previous best was 577 yards against Indiana in 1979. Minnesota also broke its record for most points in a game, breaking the old mark of 55 against Iowa in 1949.