Illinois demolishes Northwestern 41-3 but finishes behind Purdue in Big Ten West race

  • Illinois destroyed Northwestern 41-3 Saturday at Ryan Field in a game so one-sided, so over-before-it-started, it’s almost as if there was no point to playing it.

    It didn’t matter much to the Illini. They came in with the chance to win Big Ten West via tiebreaker, and to earn a trip for the Big Ten championship match. They played their part and finished the regular season with 8-4 overall (their highest win total since 2007) as well as 5-4 in conference play (their second-best league record of above-.500 since 2007).

    Purdue won easily at Indiana to move to 8-4, 3-3. Next Saturday, the Boilermakers will face unbeaten Michigan at Lucas Oil Stadium. The winner of Ohio State’s 45-23 contest is Michigan. Meanwhile, the Illini are still bitter about their losses to both Indiana schools.

    According to various media outlets, Illinois will be going to the Music City Bowl, Nashville, Tenn. on New Year’s Eve. The Pinstripe Bowl in New York on December 29. Or the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, Charlotte, N.C. on Dec. 30.

    Northwestern walk-on quarterback Cole Freeman made five mistakes, four of which were interceptions. The Wildcats also threw five INTs. Safety Sydney Brown of Illinois scored touchdowns on a fumble and interception return. Cornerback Devon Witherspoon also picked up two passes.

    After falling in a U.S. game, the Wildcats are now 1-11. The only win they have was against Nebraska in their season opener in Ireland.


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