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Illini fall to Wildcats in Rivalry Week game, 28-10

The trophy is spending another year in Evanston.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Land of Lincoln trophy in staying in Evanston. The Illini went on the road to face the Northwestern Wildcats for Rivalry Week, losing 28-10.

Illinois (2-5) has now lost its last six games against Northwestern, with the last win back in 2014. They still have the lead in the all-time rivalry, 55-54.

The Illinois defense had six starters unavailable this week, including Tony Adams who tested positive for COVID-19. Due to contact tracing, Nate Hobbs was also out.

Brandon Peters started the game at quarterback and went 3-of-14 for 21 yards on the day. Isaiah Williams also saw action going 4-of-8 for 86 yards.

A field goal from James McCourt in the first quarter put the Illini up early, but the Wildcats responded with 28 unanswered points.

Derrick Smith was disqualified for targeting in the middle of the second quarter, hurting an already depleted Illinois defense.

It was not until the fourth quarter, with Williams in at quarterback, that Illinois made it to the endzone. The 46-yard touchdown pass to Brian Hightower cut Northwestern’s lead to 28-10. At that point, the Wildcats had already pulled their starters.


  • Missed conversions: Northwestern was able to capitalize on the missing Illinois defensive starters. The Illini gave up three fourth-down conversions during a 17-play drive that lasted over seven minutes.
  • Illini in the endzone: The only Illinois touchdown of the game put them in double digits.


A fake punt from Blake Hayes early in the second quarter.