Northwestern 38

(7-4, 5-3 Big Ten)

Illinois 21

(2-9, 0-8 Big Ten)

12:00 PM ET, November 19, 2005

Memorial Stadium (Champaign, IL), Champaign, IL

1 2 3 4 T
NW 7 17 7 738
ILL 0 21 0 021

Top Performers

Passing: B. Basanez (NW) - 240 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: T. Sutton (NW) - 34 CAR, 212 YDS

Receiving: M. Philmore (NW) - 5 REC, 62 YDS, 1 TD

Northwestern hands Illinois ninth straight loss

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Brett Basanez threw for 240 yards and Tyrell Sutton ran for 212 as Northwestern handed Illinois its ninth straight loss, 38-21 on Saturday.

Basanez, making his 39th consecutive start, became the third Big Ten quarterback to pass for more than 10,000 yards in his career, reaching 10,164 to join Purdue's Drew Brees and Iowa's Chuck Long in reaching the milestone. He also rushed for 85 yards and two touchdowns as the Wildcats' league-leading offense rolled up three dozen first downs and gained 596 yards.

Northwestern (7-4, 5-3) reached seven victories for the first time since it shared the Big Ten championship in 2000 and can look forward to a bowl game next month. Illinois (2-9, 0-8) has only one conference victory in three seasons.

Illinois, which hadn't scored a touchdown in two games, gained 440 yards against Northwestern's defense, ranked last in the Big Ten.

Pierre Thomas gave the Illini their first score on a 1-yard run with 11:52 to go in the second quarter and Tim Brasic threw a pair of 27-yard TD passes, to Jason Davis and Derrick McPhearson.

Thomas finished with 97 yards on 18 carries and Brasic finished the day 20-of-35 for 241 yards. He also ran for 53 yards.

But Basanez and Sutton had their way most of the day. Sutton carried 34 times while Basanez was 25-of-31, including a 9-yard TD pass to Frayne Abernathy.

Joel Howell's added a late 19-yard field goal to give Northwestern a 24-21 lead at the break.

In a game between the Big Ten's two worst defenses most anything could happen and it did when Northwestern was faced with a 4th-and-5 at the Illinois 28 in the third quarter.

With kicker Joel Howells on the field as a decoy, the Wildcats hoodwinked the Illini by snapping the ball to up back Mark Philmore, who quickly gave it to Gerard Hamlett while faking a run to the left. Hamlett went the other way untouched for a touchdown that gave Northwestern a 31-21 lead.

Illinois threatened to answer in its next drive, but Brasic was intercepted by defensive tackle Barry Cofield at the Wildcats 9.

Basanez added his second TD of the day with an 8-yard run with 6:50 to go in the game.