No Magic And No Hat: Illini Dominated In Home Finale Rivalry Game 29-10

Matthew Stevens

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- In practically every way this was a sad and depressing Senior Day contest at Illinois.

The Illini, which honored 17 seniors on this 2019 team, managed just 160 total yards and 14 rushing yards in a 29-10 loss to an already downtrodden Northwestern program.

Illinois sat five starters on both sides of the ball including quarterback Brandon Peters and wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe. The Illini offense seemed nurtured in the first half where they totaled just 30 yards of offense and its only points came off a 39-yard drive following an interception return by Nate Hobbs.

The 29 points scored by Northwestern was its most in a Big Ten Conference game this season as sophomore Andrew Marty led the Wildcats to its fifth straight victory in the in-state rivalry game. Each of the 17 Illini seniors honored Saturday will leave their college careers having never defeated Northwestern.

Marty finished the game with 165 total yards (110 rushing, 55 passing) and until the final 90 seconds of play was the Wildcats leading rusher as well as connecting on a 34-yard touchdown pass to Riley Lees in the third quarter.

Illinois redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Robinson struggled with precise throws and his RPO reads in his second start of the 2019 season. Robinson finished just 8 of 17 for 108 yards and was sacked three times.

On a day with constant rain and miserable weather conditions similar to what Illinois endured in its win at Purdue on Oct. 26, the Fighting Illini running game finished with 11 yards on 25 carries. The rushing total is the program’s lowest single-game total since 2016 when they were held to three yards on 15 carries against a Western Michigan led by its then-head coach P.J. Fleck.

Northwestern (3-9, 1-8 in Big Ten Conference) head coach Pat Fitzgerald's picked up his 10th win versus in-state rival Illinois, which is his most versus any other Big Ten opponent.

Illinois (6-6, 4-5 in Big Ten) will now need to wait several days before learning its postseason bowl destination as the Illini got to the six wins needed nearly a month ago. 

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