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Northwestern vs. Illinois GameThread

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Let's go get the HAT.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The regular-season finale is upon us, and that means the Land of Lincoln Hat is at stake today as Illinois (3-8, 2-6 Big Ten) comes to Evanston hoping to salvage a disastrous season with a win over Northwestern (5-6, 4-4 Big Ten).

Northwestern has guaranteed bowl eligibility on the line and the chance to keep the Hat, which the Wildcats took back from the Illini last year with a 24-10 win at Soldier Field.

Northwestern has a clear advantage in this matchup and should be able to dominate on the ground; the Illini have struggled to both run the ball and stop the run.

But it won't be easy — no rivalry game ever is — and the Illini have some explosive athletes coming out of its backfield.

Northwestern got some good news on Friday when Austin Carr went unlisted on the injury report. The Biletnikoff finalist has been the Wildcats' best and most consistent offensive player.

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