EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) - Venric Mark rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown as Northwestern improved its chances for a berth in a New Year's Day bowl game, beating Illinois 50-14 on Saturday.
Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter threw for a career-high three touchdowns and the Wildcats (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten) reached nine victories for the first time since 2008.
Penalties and turnovers hurt Illinois (2-10, 0-8), which has lost nine straight and 14 in a row in Big Ten play. The Illini committed four turnovers - including three interceptions - and eight penalties in their season finale.
Northwestern captured the Land of Lincoln Trophy after losing to the Illini in the rivalry game the last two seasons.
Donovonn Young rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown for Illinois, which ranks last in the Big Ten in scoring offense in coach Tim Beckman's first season. Nathan Scheelhaase went 9 for 14 for 91 yards and two interceptions.
|ILL||Donovonn Young 15 yd run (Nick Immekus kick)|
|NWEST||Jeff Budzien 44 yd FG|
|NWEST||Kain Colter 2 yd run (Jeff Budzien kick)|
|NWEST||Tony Jones 9 yd pass from Kain Colter (Jeff Budzien kick)|
|ILL||Reilly O'Toole 12 yd run (Nick Immekus kick)|
|NWEST||Venric Mark 3 yd run (Jeff Budzien kick)|
|NWEST||Jeff Budzien 36 yd FG|
|NWEST||Tyris Jones 15 yd pass from Kain Colter (Jeff Budzien kick)|
|NWEST||Paul Jorgensen 24 yd pass from Kain Colter (Jeff Budzien kick)|
|NWEST||Mike Trumpy 3 yd run (Jeff Budzien kick)|
|NWEST||Max Chapman safety|
|Third Down Efficiency||6-9||7-13|
|Fourth Down Efficiency||0-0||4-4|
|Kick Return Yds||152||132|
|Punt Return Yds||0||0|
|Time of Poss.||22:57||37:3|
|ILL: Donovonn Young 11-74, Josh Ferguson 5-24, Reilly O'Toole 6-16, Jon Davis 2-11, Nathan Scheelhaase 2-6, Dami Ayoola 1--5|
|NWEST: Venric Mark 18-127, Kain Colter 14-88, Tyris Jones 13-45, Mike Trumpy 8-35, Tim Riley 3-23, Treyvon Green 5-13, Doug Diedrick 3-12, Team 1--2, Bo Cisek 2--3|
|ILL: Nathan Scheelhaase 9-14-91-2, Reilly O'Toole 3-4-25-1|
|NWEST: Kain Colter 9-11-102-0, Trevor Siemian 1-4-9-1, Zack Oliver 1-1-1-0|
|ILL: Miles Osei 3-34, Darius Millines 3-31, Josh Ferguson 2-23, Donovonn Young 2-12, Jon Davis 1-17, Dami Ayoola 1--1|
|NWEST: Tony Jones 3-16, Rashad Lawrence 2-11, Christian Jones 1-30, Paul Jorgensen 1-24, Tyris Jones 1-15, Mike Jensen 1-9, Demetrius Fields 1-6, Pierre Youngblood-Ary 1-1|
|Illinois||6th Big Ten Leaders||0-8||2-10|
|Northwestern||3rd Big Ten Legends||5-3||10-3|