Postgame Notes - Illinois 48, Northwestern 27


Nov. 20, 2010

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ILLINOIS Postgame Notes
Illinois 48, RV/#25 Northwestern 27
Wrigley Field // Nov. 20, 2010 // 41,058

Team Notes
1. With the win, Illinois improves to 2-0 all-time at Wrigley Field. The Illini also beat Northwestern 29-0 at the Friendly Confines in 1923. Illinois also won the "Land of Lincoln" trophy for the first time with today's victory. Northwestern won the trophy in last year's inaugural battle after the two schools retired the "Sweet Sioux" Tomahawk in 2008.

2. The Illini had 519 yards rushing, their most since posting a school-record 562 rushing yards against Illinois-Normal on Sept. 16, 1944. Illinois had an incredible 224 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in the first quarter and a school-record 303 rushing yards at halftime. The Illini also averaged 7.4 yards per carry and 24 of their 26 first downs came on rushing plays.

3. Illinois scored over 40 points for the fourth time in the last five games, making the Illini's average in those five games to 45.4 points per game. The Orange and Blue also are averaging 442.0 yards per game in the last five games after posting 561 yards of total offense today.

4. Illinois showed great versatility on offense today, scoring both on quick drives and extended drives. The Illini scored two first-quarter touchdowns off three-play drives before adding a field goal in the second quarter on a 12-play drive, a third-quarter touchdown on a 14-play drive, and fourth-quarter TDs on drives of seven and 13 plays. Illinois scored on eight of its 12 drives today.

5. The Illini held the ball an amazing 41:16 compared to Northwestern's 18:44 time of possession, including over 10 minutes of possession in the first, third and fourth quarters.

6. Illinois forced three turnovers in the first quarter and scored seven points off them, giving the Illini 16 turnovers and 69 points off turnovers in the last five games. Conversely, Illinois has given up only five turnovers in that span.

7. Illinois scored 21 points in the first quarter, its most points in the opening quarter this year and second-most under head coach Ron Zook. The most points scored in a first quarter under Zook came against Indiana in 2006.

8. Starting with a Derek Dimke field goal as time expired in the first half, Illinois out-scored Northwestern 24-3 to end the game. The Illini out-gained the Wildcats 240-122 in the second half and 153-57 in the fourth quarter.

Individual Notes
1. Junior RB Mikel Leshoure had a day for the ages, breaking the Illinois school and Wrigley Field records with a career-best 330 rushing yards, topping Robert Holcombe's 315 yards at Minnesota on Nov. 16, 1996. That is the highest total by an FBS school since Navy's Shun White had 348 yards on Aug. 30, 2008, is the fifth-most yards in a game in Big Ten history, and the fourth-most in a Big Ten conference game.

2. Leshoure now has 1,371 yards this season, second-best in school history (Rashard Mendenhall's 1,681 yards in 2007) and 2,231 yards in his career, 10th-best in school history. He also averaged an eye-popping 10.0 yards per carry.

3. Leshoure scored two rushing touchdowns in the first 4:54 today, pushing him past Howard Griffith into second on the Illinois record list for season touchdowns scored with 16. Rashard Mendenhall holds the record with 19. He also now is third on the single-season rushing TDs list behind only Mendenhall (17) and Griffith (15). Leshoure now has scored 12 touchdowns in the last four games, nine rushing and three receiving.

4. Leshoure ran for a whopping 153 yards in the first quarter on only 10 carries, an average of 15.3 ypc, with two touchdowns.

5. Leshoure has 591 rushing yards in the last three games, an average of 197.0 yards per game.

6. In addition, Leshoure's 70-yard run in the first quarter was Illinois' longest play this year, topping his own 55-yard scamper last week against Minnesota. He also added a 62-yard burst in the fourth quarter to set up Jason Ford's two-yard touchdown run.

7. Junior RB Jason Ford scored three touchdowns today, tying his career high (vs. Indiana, 10/18/08). Added to Leshoure's two TD runs, the Illini had two rushers with at least two touchdowns for the first time since Mendenhall and Juice Williams accomplished the feat against Northwestern on Nov. 17, 2007.

8. Junior LB Martez Wilson also had a strong day, notching a career-high three tackles for loss, including a career-best two sacks. He also had two quarterback hurries and six tackles.

9. Junior LB Ian Thomas recorded his first career interception in the first quarter, returning it 15 yards.

10. Senior punter Anthony Santella also had a strong day in limited action, averaging 53.5 yards per punt on his two punts, with one over 50 yards.

Miscellaneous Notes
1. Today's game will go down as one of the most interesting games in college football, with all offensive plays heading toward the west end zone.