Postgame Notes - #24 Illinois 38, Northwestern 35

Oct. 1, 2011

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#24/22 Illinois 38, Northwestern 35
Oct. 1, 2011 
// Memorial Stadium // Champaign, Ill. // Attendance: 53,243

Team Notes

1. With the win over Northwestern, Illinois improves to 5-0 to start the season for the first time since 1951. The Illini also retained the "Land of Lincoln" rivalry trophy after topping the Wildcats for the second year in a row. Today also marks the first time that Illinois remained undefeated after a Homecoming game since 1963, when it was 3-0-1 after beating Minnesota 16-6.

2. The Illini now have won six consecutive games dating back to the 2010 Texas Bowl victory, Illinois' longest winning streak since a seven-game string from 9/8-10/6/2007.

3. The Illini mounted an 18-point comeback after facing their largest deficit of the season, which marks the largest comeback by an Illinois team since 2005 when they trailed Rutgers 27-7 and came back to win, 33-30 in overtime.

4. Illinois scored 28 of the game's final 35 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter, tying the most points scored in the fourth quarter during the Zook era (at Michigan, 10/4/08).

5. The Illini snapped a streak of three straight losses in conference openers, winning their Big Ten opener for the first time since defeating Indiana, 27-14, in 2007.

6. Illinois converted on 3-of-4 red-zone chances with three touchdowns, bringing its season mark to 21-of-23 (.913) with 15 TDs and six field goals.

7. The Illini, who entered the game eighth in the nation in third-down efficiency, continued to convert on third down at a mark over 50 percent, going 7-of-13 to bring the season mark to 41-of-73 (.561).

Individual Notes

1. Senior wide receiver A.J. Jenkins posted a school-record 268 receiving yards on a career-high 12 receptions, breaking David Williams' previous record of 208 yards, which came against Northwestern in 1984. It ranks as the third-most receiving yards in a Big Ten game in conference history and the fourth-best mark in conference history in all games. For the second year in a row, an Illini broke an individual program record after Mikel Leshoure rushed for 330 yards at Wrigley Field last season.

2. Jenkins' three-touchdown performance matches the single-game receiving touchdown record at Illinois and marks the first time an Illini has accomplished the feat since Greg Lewis in 2000. His stellar performance also moved him into third place on Illinois' all-time list with 16 career TD receptions, just behind Brandon Lloyd (21) and David Williams (24).

3. It also marked Jenkins' third 100-yard game this season and the sixth of his career, which ties for sixth in Illinois history, along with moving him into the top 10 at No. 9 all-time with 117 career receptions.

4. Nathan Scheelhaase set career highs in completions, attempts and passing yards, connecting on 21-of-32 passes for 391 yards. He finished with four total touchdowns (3 passing, 1 rushing), matching his career high for touchdowns in a single game. (4 vs. Purdue, 10/30/10 & at Michigan, 11/6/10). It was the most passes thrown by an Illini quarterback since Juice Williams attempted 34 passes at Cincinnati on Nov. 27, 2009.

5. Senior Derek Dimke's 49-yard field goal to end the first half marked his 10th straight made field goal dating back to last season, tying the third-most in school history. Dimke also made 10 straight from Oct. 2-23, 2010, and Chris White made 10 straight from Oct. 6-27, 1984.

6. Sophomore linebacker Jonathan Brown and junior bandit Michael Buchanan each recorded career highs in tackles, with 11 and 10, respectively. Buchanan's three TFLs also are a new career high.