Illinois falls to Northwestern 29-10 in final regular-season game

Head+coach+Lovie+Smith+stands+on+the+sidelines+during+Illinois%27+game+against+Iowa+on+Nov.+23.+Saturday%2C+Illinois+fell+to+Northwestern+29-10+on+Senior+Day%2C+closing+out+the+team%27s+regular+season.+Captured+at+Kinnick+Stadium+on+23+Nov.+2019+by+Jonathan+Bonaguro.
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Illinois falls to Northwestern 29-10 in final regular-season game

Head coach Lovie Smith stands on the sidelines during Illinois' game against Iowa on Nov. 23. Saturday, Illinois fell to Northwestern 29-10 on Senior Day, closing out the team's regular season. Captured at Kinnick Stadium on 23 Nov. 2019 by Jonathan Bonaguro.

Head coach Lovie Smith stands on the sidelines during Illinois' game against Iowa on Nov. 23. Saturday, Illinois fell to Northwestern 29-10 on Senior Day, closing out the team's regular season. Captured at Kinnick Stadium on 23 Nov. 2019 by Jonathan Bonaguro.

Head coach Lovie Smith stands on the sidelines during Illinois' game against Iowa on Nov. 23. Saturday, Illinois fell to Northwestern 29-10 on Senior Day, closing out the team's regular season. Captured at Kinnick Stadium on 23 Nov. 2019 by Jonathan Bonaguro.

Head coach Lovie Smith stands on the sidelines during Illinois' game against Iowa on Nov. 23. Saturday, Illinois fell to Northwestern 29-10 on Senior Day, closing out the team's regular season. Captured at Kinnick Stadium on 23 Nov. 2019 by Jonathan Bonaguro.

By Miles Powers-Huang, Staff Writer

Wet, muggy, ugly – a few words for the weather during Illinois’ 29-10 loss to Northwestern on Saturday.

With both teams forced to turn to backup quarterbacks, freshman Matt Robinson for Illinois and Andrew Marty for Northwestern, there were more than a few head-scratching plays from both sides.

The Wildcats opened scoring on a field goal from Charlie Kuhbander with three minutes remaining in the first quarter, the only scoring done in the first 15 minutes.

In the second quarter, junior Nate Hobbs intercepted a pass and set the Illini offense up with a short field, and senior Dre Brown ran for a six-yard touchdown to put Illinois up 7-3.

Northwestern responded, however, as Marty capped a 15-play, 75-yard drive with a 12-yard rushing touchdown to restore the Wildcats’ lead, 10-7.

After the halftime break, junior James McCourt missed a potential game-tying field goal, and Northwestern immediately drove the ball 69 yards on the following drive for another touchdown, culminating in a 34-yard touchdown from Marty to Riley Lees.

Illinois got back into the game after being down 17-10, as McCourt redeemed himself by clanking the ball through off of the right upright from 50 yards away, cutting the lead to 17-13.

On the Wildcats following drive, senior Stanley Green appeared to secure a critical end-zone interception, but an illegal hands-to-the-face penalty on junior Ayo Shogbonyo nullified the play, and Marty snuck in from a yard out to make the score 23-10 two plays later.

The Illini failed to respond, and the Wildcats punctuated the win with a 24-yard touchdown run from Coco Azema with just over one minute remaining.

With the loss, Illinois dropped to 6-6, while Northwestern took home the Land of Lincoln Trophy to conclude a 3-9 season.

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