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Top five Land of Lincoln Trophy performances of the past decade

Who really dominates the Northwestern vs. Illinois rivalry?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 30 Northwestern at Illinois

Historically, the Illinois vs. Northwestern rivalry has been extremely close, with Illinois leading the series score 55-53-5 all time. But over the past decade, Northwestern has turned up the heat, dominating and winning seven out of ten.

Here is a look at five of the best individual performances in this series over the past decade and how the players made a significant impact on those games.

5. Brian Peters (Northwestern), 2010

Stats: 18 total tackles (1 for loss), 2 INTs, 1 TD

Game Outcome: Illinois W, 48-27

Peters’ absurd stat line from this game was often a factor of opportunity. Due to the high volume of rushing attempts, Peters was quick to the ball and able to make plays throughout the game. After Illinois took a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter, Peters had a key pick-six to close the gap, but Leshoure was just too much to overcome.

4. Justin Jackson (Northwestern), 2016

Stats: 173 yards on 21 attempts, one reception for five yards, 3 TDs

Game Outcome: Northwestern W, 48-21

The 2016 Land of Lincoln game was statistically unique. It provided four different 100-yard rushers that combined for seven total TDs. John Moten IV punched the ball across twice in the fist quarter, giving Justin Jackson the finishing role in this game. Mainly across three quarters, Jackson pounded the ball for over eight yards per carry en route to 173 total rushing yards. Going down 21-0, the Fighting Illini never really had a chance in this one.

3. A.J. Jenkins (Illinois), 2011

Stats: 12 receptions for 268 yds, 3 TDs

Game Outcome: Illinois W, 38-35

As a senior trying to boost his draft stock, Jenkins produced career highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns in this game. He looked physically dominant in the matchup, which included two second half TDs that cut Northwestern’s lead to five. This allowed Illinois’ QB, Nathan Scheelhaase, to score a game-winning TD with thirteen seconds left on the clock.

2. Mikel Leshoure (Illinois), 2010

Stats: 330 yards on 33 attempts, one reception for 11 yds, 2 TDs

Game Outcome: Illinois W, 48-27

Unlike most high-scoring college football games, this was no barnburner. The starting quarterbacks Evan Watkins and Nathan Scheelhaase threw for a combined 175 yards. It was ground and pound all the way for both teams, and frankly, Illinois just did it better. Leshoure was nearly unstoppable, rushing for over 300 yards.

1. Trevor Siemian (Northwestern), 2013

Stats: 31-for-44 (70 percent) for 414 passing yards, 4TDs, 0 INTs

Game Outcome: Northwestern W, 37-34

This game was easily the greatest in Siemian’s career at Northwestern and marked personal records in TDs and passing yards (by more than 100 yards). Illinois took a 27-23 lead into the fourth quarter of this edition of the rivalry, and two Siemian TD passes were necessary to close the game out.