Rapid Reaction: Illinois 38, Northwestern 35
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Here’s a quick look at No. 24 Illinois’ 38-35 win over Northwestern on Saturday.
How it happened: Trailing 35-31, Illinois put together a 69-yard drive in the final minute that ended with quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase scoring from one yard out with 13 seconds remaining to give the Illini their fifth win of the season. Scheelhaase and Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins had record days. Scheelhaase threw for a career-high 391 yards and three touchdowns. Jenkins had 12 receptions and 268 yards and three touchdowns. Jenkins’ performance broke the school’s single-game receiving record, which was previously set by David Williams’ 208-yard game against Northwestern in 1984. Dan Persa, who missed the first three games, looked like his old self at times Saturday going 11-of-15 passing for 137 yards and four touchdown before leaving the game with an apparent injury. (Coach Pat Fitzgerald said he was held out for precautionary reasons.) Behind Persa, Northwestern took a 28-10 lead in the third quarter. Illinois retook the lead at 31-28 after scoring 21 consecutive points. Northwestern went back ahead 35-31 on a touchdown run by Jacob Schmidt with 1:43 left.
What it means: Illinois appears it’s putting together a special season. After back-to-back close wins over Arizona State and Western Michigan, the Illini had to dig even deeper to pull out Saturday’s win over rival Northwestern. They rallied from an 18-point deficit in the third quarter and then came back again in the final minute after Northwestern ahead.
Outside the box: The result of the game is secondary to Northwestern. Its season’s fate could depend on the extent of the injuries to running back Mike Trumpy and Persa. Trumpy was carted to the locker room after injuring his right leg in the third quarter. Persa was tripped up while scrambling in the second half and did not return to the game.
What’s next: Illinois hits the road next week for the first time this season. After five consecutive home wins, the Illini travel to Indiana. Northwestern will return home next week to face Michigan in a night game at Ryan Field.
TOP 25 SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35