Garrett Edwards brings down Northwestern's Eric Peterman during the first quarter. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nov. 22, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) - The Illini (5-7, 3-5) mounted a second-half comeback after trailing 13-0 at the break, but had their slim bowl chances erased.
With Northwestern leading 16-10 in the fourth quarter, Smith broke off his return to the Illinois 20. Two plays later, Bachér hit Peterman for an 18-yard TD pass with 9:08 left.
Peterman was a tough guy to cover all day for the Illini. He had eight catches for 111 yards.
Illinois quarterback Juice Williams, who was sacked five times, got going in the second half and finished with 94 yards rushing on 25 carries, while completing 20 of 36 for 212 yards. Bachér hit on 22 of 33 passes for 230 yards.
Bachér's 22-yard pass to Peterman on third down and another 13-yarder to Ross Lane sent the Wildcats on a 76-yard scoring drive late in the first quarter, one capped by Stephen Simmons' 1-yard scoring run. Amado Villarreal then missed the extra point.
On their next possession, the Wildcats moved 60 yards against the Illini defense. On a third-and-8, Bachér rolled right and then threw back across the field to the back of the end zone to Lane, who hauled it in while making sure to keep his feet in bounds as the Wildcats went up by two TDs.
The Illini regrouped at the half, took the opening kickoff and moved 80 yards behind the play of Williams, who threw a 31-yard pass to Jeff Cumberland on a third-and-14. He also carried four times, including a 16-yarder that set up a 1-yard TD run by Jason Ford. Williams also eclipsed Tony Eason's single-season school record (3,671) for total offense.
Saturday's game marked the last time Illinois and Northwestern played for the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk. The framed tomahawk has been a part of the instate rivalry since 1947, but school officials announced Friday that its run will end as part of the 2005 NCAA directive to stop using American Indian imagery.