Illinois and Northwestern kick off at Wrigly at 2:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

Illinois-NU Gameday Binoculars: Blogging, Commentary & Analysis

6:07 p.m. Update: Illinois is bowl-eligible following a 48-27 victory against Northwestern at Wrigley Field.

Junior Illini running back Mikel Leshoure was an absolute beast, rushing the ball 33 times for an amazing 330 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Congratulations to the Illini on the big victory.

Despite the last two weeks, this team deserved to play in a bowl game this season.

Writing Illini will review the game tape later and get some comments up on the site.

1st Quarter

Stefan Demos kicks off to start the game. Darius Millines returns kick to the Illinois 34.

Illinois ball on its own 34 with 14:45 remaining.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 34: Mikel Leshoure rushes to the Northwestern 34.

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 34: Leshoure rushes to the 4.

1st and Goal Illinois from the Northwestern 4: Leshoure rushes for a touchdown.

Illinois 6, Northwestern 0

Derek Dimke makes PAT.

Illinois 7, Northwestern 0

Dimke kicks off to the 4 yard line. Venric Mark returns kick to the 30.

Northwestern ball on its own 30 with 13:43 remaining.

1st and 10 Northwestern from its own 30: Evan Watkins throws pass away.

2nd and 10 Northwestern from its own 30: Mike Trumpy rushes to the 36.

3rd and 4 Northwestern from its own 36: Watkins sacked by Martez Wilson. Watkins fumbles the ball. Clay Nurse recovers for Illinois.

Illinois ball on the Northwestern 30 with 12:50 remaining.

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 30: Nathan Scheelhaase rushes to the 28.

2nd and 8 Illinois from the Northwestern 28: Scheelhaase rushes to the 19.

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 19: Scheelhaase rushes to the 13.

2nd and 4 Illinois from the Northwestern 13: Leshoure rushes to the 4.

1st and Goal Illinois from the Northwestern 4: Leshoure rushes to the 1.

2nd and Goal Illinois from the Northwestern 1: Leshoure rushes for a touchdown.

Illinois 13, Northwestern 0

Dimke makes PAT.

Illinois 14, Northwestern 0

Dimke kicks off to the 25. Aaron Nagel returns kick to the 39.

Northwestern ball on its own 39 with 10:06 remaining.

1st and 10 Northwestern from its own 39: Venric Mark rushes to the 42. Ball fumbled out of bounds.

2nd and 7 Northwestern from its own 42: Adonis Smith rushes to the 47.

3rd and 2 Northwestern from its own 47: Kain Colter rushes to the Illinois 49.

1st and 10 Northwestern from the Illinois 49: Watkins tackled for a loss at the 50.

2nd and 11 Northwestern from the 50: Watkins pass complete to Sidney Stewart at the 37.

1st and 10 Northwestern from the Illinois 37: Smith rushes to the 30. Nurse causes fumble. Michael Buchanan recovers ball on the 29.

Illinois ball on its own 29 with 7:33 remaining.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 29: Jason Ford rushes to the 44.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 44: Scheelhaase rushes to the Northwestern 35.

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 35: Eddie McGee pass intercepted by Brian Peters. Peters returns pick for a touchdown.

Illinois 14, Northwestern 6

Demos makes PAT.

Illinois 14, Northwestern 7

Demos kicks off to the 16. Troy Pollard returns kick to the 27.

Illinois ball on its own 27 with 6:10 remaining.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 27: Leshoure rushes to the Northwestern 3.

1st and Goal Illinois from the Northwestern 3: Leshoure tackled for a loss at the 5.

2nd and Goal Illinois from the Northwestern 5: Ford rushes for a touchdown.

Illinois 20, Northwestern 7

Dimke makes PAT.

Illinois 21, Northwestern 7

Dimke kicks off to the 5. Stephen Simmons returns kick to the 28.

Northwestern ball on its own 28 with 4:52 remaining.

1st and 10 Northwestern from its own 28: Watkins pass incomplete to Trumpy.

2nd and 10 Northwestern from its own 28: Trumpy rushes to the 34.

3rd and 4 Northwestern from its own 34: Watkins intercepted by Ian Thomas, returned to the 30.

Illinois ball on the Northwestern 30 with 3:56 remaining.

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 30: Penalty on Northwestern. Facemask, 15 yards repeat 1st down.

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 15: Scheelhaase rushes to the 7.

2nd and 2 Illinois from the Northwestern 7: Penalty on Illinois. Holding, 10 yards repeat 2nd down.

2nd and 12 Illinois from the Northwestern 17: Leshoure tackled for a loss at the 18.

3rd and 13 Illinois from the Northwestern 18: Scheelhaase pass complete to Jenkins at the 11.

4th and 6 Illinois from the Northwestern 11: Dimke misses field goal.

Northwestern ball on its own 20 with 1:12 remaining.

1st and 10 Northwestern from its own 20: Trumpy rushes 80 yards for a touchdown.

Illinois 21, Northwestern 13

Demos makes PAT.

Illinois 21, Northwestern 14

Demos kicks off to the 18. Pollard returns kick to the Illinois 46.

Illinois ball on its own 46 with 1:00 remaining.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 46: Scheelhaase rushes to the Northwestern 49.

2nd and 5 Illinois from the Northwestern 49: Leshoure rushes to the 42.

Thoughts after the first quarter:

Illinois needs to keep Northwestern from making the big plays. The Illini should be up 21-0 but a costly interception by McGee and terrible coverage that allowed for an 80 yard run have allowed the Wildcats to hang around. After the last two games, Illinois can not afford another back and forth game late. The Illini need to build on their lead going into the half.

2nd Quarter

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 42: Scheelhaase rushes to the 35.

2nd and 3 Illinois from the Northwestern 35: Leshoure rushes to the 33.

3rd and 1 Illinois from the Northwestern 33: Leshorue rushes to the 29.

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 29: Leshoure rushes to the 25.

2nd and 6 Illinois from the Northwestern 25: Scheelhaase sacked at the 29.

3rd and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 29: Scheelhaase incomplete to Ryan Lankford.

4th and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 29: Dimke makes field goal.

Illinois 24, Northwestern 14

Dimke kicks off to the 6. Simmons returns kick to the 29.

Northwestern ball on its own 29 with 11:55 remaining.

1st and 10 Northwestern from its own 29: Watkins throws ball away.

2nd and 10 Northwestern from its own 29: Trumpy rushes to the 31.

3rd and 8 Northwestern from its own 31: Watkins rushes to the 32.

4th and 7 Northwestern from its own 32: Brandon Williams punts to the 20. Jack Ramsey calls for fair catch.

Illinois ball on its own 20 with 10:28 remianing.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 20: Leshorue rushes to the 21.

2nd and 9 Illinois from its own 21: Scheelhaase rushes to the 24.

3rd and 6 Illinois from its own 24: Scheelhaase pass incomplete.

4th and 6 Illinois from its own 24: Anthony Santella punts to the 33. Mark returns punt to the Illinois 14.

Northwestern ball on the Illinois 14 with 8:43 remaining.

1st and 10 Northwestern from the Illinois 14: Trumpy tackled at the 16.

2nd and 12 Northwestern from the Illinois 16: Colter rushes to the 14.

3rd and 10 Northwestern from the Illinois 14: Watkins pass incomplete.

4th and 10 Northwestern from the Illinois 14: Demos makes field goal.

Illinois 24, Northwestern 17

Demos kicks off to the 17. Pollard returns kick to the 35.

Illinois ball on its own 35 with 7:19 remaining.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 35: Scheelhaase pass incomplete to McGee.

2nd and 10 Illinois from its own 35: Leshoure rushes to the 37.

3rd and 8 Illinois from its own 37: Scheelhaase pass intercepted by Peters at the Northwestern 25.

Northwestern ball on its own 25 with 6:22 remaining.

1st and 10 Northwestern from its own 25: Trumpy rushes to the 27.

2nd and 8 Northwestern from its own 27: Watkins pass complete to Stewart at the Northwestern 46.

1st and 10 Northwestern from its own 46: Trumpy rushes to the 47.

2nd and 9 Northwestern from its own 47: Watkins pass complete to Trumpy at the Illinois 45.

3rd and 1 Northwestern from the Illinois 45: Colter rushes to the 41.

1st and 10 Northwestern from the Illinois 41: Watkins pass complete to Tony Jones at the 9.

1st and Goal Northwestern from the Illinois 9: Smith rushes to the 2.

2nd and Goal Northwestern from the Illinois 2: Trumpy rushes for a touchdown.

Illinois 24, Northwestern 23

Demos makes PAT.

Illinois 24, Northwestern 24

Demos kicks off to the 11. Millines returns kick to the 19. Penalty on Illinois. Illegal block, loss of 10 yards.

Illinois ball on its own 9 with 2:53 remaining.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 9: Leshoure tackled at the 5.

2nd and 14 Illinois from its own 5: Leshoure rushes to the 12.

3rd and 7 Illinois from its own 12: Scheelhaase rushes to the 21.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 21: Scheelhaase pass incomplete to Evan Wilson.

2nd and 10 Illinois from its own 21: Leshoure rushes to the Northwestern 40.

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 40: Scheelhaase pass complete to Wilson at the 35.

2nd and 5 Illinois from the Northwestern 35: Scheelhaase pass complete to Jenkins at the 31.

3rd and 1 Illinois from the Northwestern 31: Scheelhaase rushes to the 28.

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 28: Scheelhaase rushes to the 27.

2nd and 9 Illinois from the Northwestern 27: Scheelhaase rushes to the 22.

3rd and 4 Illinois from the Northwestern 22: Dimke makes field goal.

Illinois 27, Northwestern 24

Thoughts at the half:

Illinois can’t feel good being up at the half. The Wildcats get the ball to start the second half and the game is uncomfortably close. Illinois really needs to pull away and create some cushion so its defense is not put in the same situation that it was in last weekend. Leshoure is by far the player of the half, he already has over 180 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.

3rd Quarter

Dimke kicks off into the endzone for a touchback.

Northwestern ball on its own 20 with 15:00 remaining.

1st and 10 Northwestern from its own 20: Trumpy rushes to the 21.

2nd and 9 Northwestern from its own 21: Watkins pass complete to Trumpy at the 25.

3rd and 5 Northwestern from its own 25: Watkins pass incomplete to Jones.

4th and 5 Northwestern from its own 25: Williams punts to the Illinois 39. Ramsey calls for a fair catch.

Illinois ball on its own 39 with 13:35 remaining.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 39: Leshoure rushes to the 44.

2nd and 5 Illinois from its own 44: Ford rushes to the Northwestern 48.

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 48: Leshoure rushes for no gain.

2nd and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 48: Scheelhaase pass complete to Leshoure at the 37.

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 37: Ford rushes to the 34.

2nd and 7 Illinois from the Northwestern 34: Ford rushes to the 28.

3rd and 1 Illinois from the Northwestern 28: Ford rushes to the 25.

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 25: Scheelhaase throws ball away.

2nd and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 25: Pollard rushes to the 19.

3rd and 4 Illinois from the Northwestern 19: Leshoure rushes to the 16.

4th and 1 Illinois from the Northwestern 16: Scheelhaase rushes to the 15.

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 15: Scheelhaase rushes for no gain.

2nd and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 15: Ford rushes to the 10.

3rd and 5 Illinois from the Northwestern 10: Scheelhaase pass complete to Jenkins for a touchdown.

Illinois 33, Northwestern 24

Dimke makes PAT.

Illinois 34, Northwestern 24

Dimke kicks off to the 7. Simmons returns kick to the 20.

Northwestern ball on its own 20 with 6:50 remaining.

1st and 10 Northwestern form its own 20: Trumpy rushes to the 23.

2nd and 7 Northwestern from its own 23: Watkins pass incomplete to Sidney Stewart.

3rd and 7 Northwestern from its own 23: Watkins rushes to the 29.

4th and 1 Northwestern from its own 29: Williams punt downed at the Illinois 10.

Illinois ball on its own 10 with 5:15 remaining.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 10: Leshoure rushes to the 24.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 24: Leshoure rushes to the 26.

2nd and 8 Illinois from its own 26: Ford rushes to the 33.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 33: Scheelhaase pass complete to Brandon Denmark at the 38.

2nd and 7 Illinois from its own 38: Leshoure tackled for a loss of 2.

3rd and 9 Illinois from its own 36: Leshoure rushes to the 41.

4th and 4 Illinois from its own 41: Santella punts into the end zone for a touchback.

Northwestern ball on its own 20 with 0:36 remaining.

1st and 10 Northwestern from its own 20: Trumpy rushes to the 33.

1st and 10 Northwestern from its own 33: Watkins pass complete to Drake Dunsmore at the 47.

1st and 10 Northwestern from its own 47: Watkins rushes to the Illinois 29.

Thoughts after the third quarter:

Illinois did a good job keeping Northwestern out of the end zone this quarter. They are extending their lead and the defense has played the best it has in the past three games. Illinois must at least hold Northwestern to a field goal here to keep the score from getting too close. If Leshoure can have some more big runs and allow Scheelhaase to have an easier time passing the ball.

4th Quarter

1st and 10 Northwestern from the Illinois 29: Watkins pass complete to Smith for a loss of 1.

2nd and 11 Northwestern from the Illinois 30: Watkins pass incomplete to Stewart.

3rd and 11 Northwestern from the Illinois 30: Watkins sacked by Wilson at the 36.

4th and 17 Northwestern from the Illinois 36: Williams punts for a touchback.

Illinois ball on its own 20 with 13:29 remaining.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 20: Leshoure rushes to the 29.

2nd and 1 Illinois from its own 29: Ford rushes to the 33.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 33: Scheelhaase sacked at the 30.

2nd and 13 Illinois from its own 30: Leshoure rushes to the Northwestern 8.

1st and Goal Illinois from the Northwestern 8: Ford rushes to the 5.

2nd and Goal Illinois from the Northwestern 5: Scheelhaase rushes to the 2.

3rd and Goal Illinois from the Northwestern 2: Ford rushes for a touchdown.

Illinois 40, Northwestern 24

Dimke makes PAT.

Illinois 41, Northewestern 24

Dimke kicks off to the 17. Simmons returns kick to the 43.

Northwestern ball on its own 43 with 9:49 remaining.

1st and 10 Northwestern from its own 43: Watkins pass complete to Jeremy Ebert for a loss of 2.

2nd and 12 Northwestern from its own 41: Watkins pass complete to Ebert at the Illinois 30.

1st and 10 Northwestern from the Illinois 30: Watkins throws ball away.

2nd and 10 Northwestern from the Illinois 30: Watkins pass complete to Jones at the 11.

1st and 10 Northwestern from the Illinois 11: Simmons rushes to the 5.

2nd and 4 Northwestern from the Illinois 5: Watkins tackled at the 8.

3rd and 7 Northwestern from the Illinois 8: Demos makes field goal.

Illinois 41, Northwestern 27

Demos kicks off to the 11. Pollard returns kick to the 27.

Illinois ball on its own 27 with 7:43 remaining.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 27: Leshoure rushes to the 44.

1st and 10 Illinois from its own 44: Ford rushes to the 47.

2nd and 7 Illinois from its own 47: Ford tackled at the 45.

3rd and 9 Illinois from its own 45: Scheelhaase rushes to the Northwestern 43.

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 43: Ford rushes to the 31.

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 31: Ford rushes to the 22.

2nd and 1 Illinois from the Northwestern 22: Leshoure rushes to the 18.

1st and 10 Illinois from the Northwestern 18: Leshorue rushes to the 13.

2nd and 5 Illinois from the Northwestern 13: Leshoure rushes for no gain.

3rd and 5 Illinois from the Northwestern 13: Scheelhaase rushes to the 7.

1st and Goal Illinois from the Northwestern 7: Scheelhaase rushes to the 4.

2nd and Goal Illinois from the Northwestern 4: Leshoure rushes to the 1.

3rd and Goal Illinois form the Northwestern 1: Ford rushes for a touchdown.

Illinois 47, Northwestern 27

Dimke makes PAT.

Illinos 48, Northwestern 27

Dimke kicks off to the 30. Tyler Scott returns to the 40.

Northwestern ball on its own 40 with 0:35 remaining.

1st and 10 Northwestern from its own 40: Trumpy rushes to the 43.

End Of Game.

Final Score: Illinois 48, Northwestern 27

Big win for Illinois. Be sure to check in on Monday for a recap of Illinois win and what it means for Illinois postseason ambitions.

Tags: A.J. Jenkins Aaron Nagel Adonis Smith AJ Jenkins Anthony Santella Brandon Denmark Brandon Williams Brian Peters Clay Nurse Darius Millines Derek Dimke Eddie McGee Evan Watkins Ian Thomas Illini Illinois Illinois Fighting Illini Football Illinois Football Jack Ramsey Jason Ford Kain Colter Martez Wilson Michael Buchanan Mike Trumpy Mikel Leshoure Nathan Scheelhaase Northwestern Northwestern Football Northwestern Wildcats Ron Zook Ron Zook Nathan Scheelhaase Ryan Lankford Sidney Stewart Stefan Demos Stephen Simmons Troy Pollard University Of Illinois Venric Mark Wrigley Field Writing Illini

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