Illinois vs. Northwestern 2012: Illini 'quit' against arch rival

Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Tim Beckman said all week that Northwestern was the Illini's big arch rival, but it was hard to tell by watching the team's weak effort Saturday.

The Illinois Fighting Illini got absolutely routed, 50-14, by the Northwestern Wildcats in their season finale on Saturday afternoon, but that's not necessarily what has Tom Fornelli of The Champaign Room upset. Rather, it's how the team lost after beginning the game with so much momentum against arguably its biggest arch rival.

"This was a game that [head coach Tim] Beckman tried to convince all of us and his team was our version of Ohio State and Michigan. This was against That School Up North," Fornelli said. "And his team got beat 50-14. In the most important game on the schedule. Against its arch-rival. And it quit."

Illinois actually led, 7-0, at one point in the first quarter, but the Wildcats took advantage of constant mistakes from Beckman's squad to take back the advantage. At one point, Illinois was trailing, 17-14, in the second quarter despite out-gaining the Wildcats in total yardage, 157-78, but Northwestern proceeded to score 33 unanswered points.

One of the worst offenses in the nation despite the presence of senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois scored more than 25 points in a game just once all season, and that came against FCS squad Charleston Southern. With the loss, Illinois (2-10) finishes its first season under Beckman on a nine-game losing streak, the longest by the program in years.

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