After closing out the regular-season on a six-game losing streak, the Illinois Fighting Illini were hoping to finish off the 2011 season on a good note. Thanks to a couple of big plays during the second half, Illinois was able to take advantage of a dominant effort and earn a 20-14 win over UCLA in the 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. With the victory, Illinois has now won bowl games in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.
The turning point of the game came from the Fighting illini defense, as Terry Hawthorne returned an interception for at TD late in the third quarter to grab a 10-7 lead. With the momentum heading into the final quarter, Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase found a rhythm, throwing a 60-yard TD pass to A.J. Jenkins to clinch the victory. Scheelhaase completed 18/30 for 139 yards and also rushed for 110 yards on 22 carries.
Illinois delivered a dominant defensive performance in the win, limiting UCLA to just 220 total yards. Although he threw 2 TD passes, Kevin Prince only completed 14/29 for 202 yards in the loss.
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