Northwestern Football Going Bowling, Illini Sent Home Packing As Rivals Collide


The Northwestern football team closed its rival’s season with a bitter taste on Saturday.

The Wildcats topped Illinois 42-21 on Saturday, becoming bowl eligible for the second straight season with a win at Ryan Field.

This is Pat Fitzgerald’s 11th season as coach of the Wildcats. After not playing in a bowl for his first two seasons, he then played in five in a row. He then missed the postseason for two years, and now will make it bowling two straight times.

According to Shannon Ryan at the Tribune, Northwestern will likely play in the Pinstripe Bowl, Dec. 28 at Yankee Stadium in New York, or the Foster Farms Bowl, Dec. 28 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Ca.

Northwestern’s Justin Jackson had 173 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. He also was in on a milestone for the Wildcats.

According to the Associated Press:

Jackson moved into second place on Northwestern’s all-time rushing list — passing Darnell Autry (3, 793) and Tyrell Sutton (3, 886) with 3, 905. Jackson has 27 career rushing TDs.

Also, there was some noteworthy action from a nimble referee.

As for Illinois, the loss closes Lovie Smith’s first season at Champaign at a disappointing 3-9, including 2-7 in Big Ten play.

Quarterback Wes Lunt returned to the lineup for his second straight start, throwing for 377 yards on 28 of 54 passing.

There was bad offensive execution once again for the Illini, who had scored 3 points in their previous two games combined.