Northwestern (5-6, 4-4 Big Ten) hosts Illinois (3-8, 2-6) at Ryan Field in Evanston as the Wildcats try to finally clinch bowl eligibility while beating their in-state rivals to claim the Land of Lincoln Trophy, known around these parts as The Hat.
The Wildcats’ 29-12 loss at Minnesota last week set Northwestern’s quest toward a bowl back a bit, but with the Fighting Illini — who lost 28-0 to Iowa on Saturday — coming to town, Pat Fitzgerald’s team should have a good chance to nab that elusive sixth win.
Their 24-14 win at Soldier Field last season gave the Wildcats their 49th win over Illinois since the two teams started playing each other in 1892, but the historical series is still in favor of the Illini (55-49-5).
Here’s all of our preview content from the week to ready you for today’s game:
- The depth chart didn’t feature any notable changes from the week before.
- Pat Fitzgerald, Justin Jackson, Eric Olson, Tyler Lancaster and Godwin Igwebuike spoke to the media on Monday about the Minnesota loss and, of course, the annual matchup with Illinois.
- Linebacker Cameron Queiro announced on Facebook that he is retiring from football due to concussions. Queiro (along with Matthew Harris) is the second Wildcat to retire this season.
- A week after he was named a semifinalist, wide receiver Austin Carr was announced as a Biletnikoff Award finalist. The award recognizes the nation’s “most outstanding receiver.”
- We broke down the game’s three most important matchups.
- What do you need to know about the struggling Fighting Illini? Most of it is pretty negative for Illinois and head coach Lovie Smith.
- Assuming Northwestern takes care of business against Illinois, many writers have the Wildcats playing in the Pinstripe Bowl.
- Per our Will Ragatz, Saturday’s game means more than just a possible sixth win for Northwestern.
- Big news: Austin Carr is good to go.
- While we as a staff expect Northwestern to beat Illinois, there are definitely ways the Wildcats can lose this game.
- Much of Northwestern’s offensive struggles result from ineffective play in short-yardage situations.
- We are thankful, as a staff, for a lot of Northwestern players. A bunch of us are really thankful for Austin Carr.
Game time: 11:00 a.m. CT
TV channel: Big Ten Network
Online streaming: btn2go.com
Radio: WGN 720, WNUR 89.3, Sirius Internet 969, Sirius 112, XM 195
Betting line: Northwestern -17
Over/under: 45.5 points