CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) _ Andrew Marty ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns while passing for another and Northwestern upset Illinois 29-10 on Saturday.
It was the first Big Ten win for Northwestern (3-9, 1-8). Illinois _ 21-point favorites going into the game _ finished the regular season 6-6 and 4-5 in the conference. Illinois is bowl-bound despite the loss and will learn its destination on Dec. 8.
Marty made his first career start for the Wildcats after replacing Hunter Johnson during last week’s game. Marty was the first Northwestern quarterback since Clayton Thorason in 2015 to gain at least 100 yards rushing in a game.
Perhaps the biggest surprise for Northwestern was true freshman and former cornerback Coco Azema, who led the way on the ground for the Wildcats with 123 rushing yards and two scores on just seven carries.
Illinois quarterback Matt Robinson, a sophomore starting in place of Brandon Peters (out with a concussion) was 8-of-17 passing for 108 yards.
Illinois’ running game, generally its offensive strength, was nonexistent on a cold, rainy and windy afternoon. Leading rusher Reggie Corbin carried the ball 7 times for minus-ten yards. Dre Brown carried 5 times for 17 yards and the Illini’s only touchdown,
Illinois had an abysmal first half and was lucky to only trail 10-7. Robinson was ineffective, going 1 of 5 passing for 29 yards, while Marty was 4 of 8 for 18 yards at the half. The Wildcats outgained the Illini 180 total yards to 30. Northwestern racked up 162 yards on the ground compared to Illinois’ 1.
Northwestern: Played solely for pride – and its first conference win. The game also was perhaps a sign of better things to come with Marty at quarterback next season.
Illinois: Had little to gain, and played like it, offering up its worst overall game of the season.
Northwestern: Finished for the season.
Illinois: Will learn its bowl destination on Dec. 8.