College Football: Illini look to go 5-0 in game against Northwestern

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

The universities of Illinois and Wisconsin will also face their first conference opponents this Saturday, Oct. 1. For the first time in 60 years, the Fighting Illini have begun their season with four straight victories. They will be looking to make it five in a row when they welcome their in-state rival, the Northwestern Wildcats, to Memorial Stadium.

The Fighting Illini made it a perfect 4-0 non-conference record with a 23-20 win over Western Michigan last Saturday, Sept. 24. The Wildcats come into the game following a bye week. They last played Sept. 17 when they lost to Army 21-14 in West Point, N.Y.

Last year, these two teams met at Wrigley Field Nov. 20, and the Illini ran all over the Wildcats. Illinois dominated on the ground, racking up 519 yards rushing on the day and won 48-27. Game time this Saturday is at 11 a.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.

The University of Wisconsin and the University of Nebraska are two of the other three (Michigan) undefeated teams in the Big 10. The Badgers are ranked seventh in the national polls, and the Cornhuskers are ranked eighth. The two teams will battle one another in a prime time, nationally-televised showdown this Saturday, Oct. 1, at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. ABC will broadcast the game beginning at 7 p.m.

These two teams have faced one another only three times in the last 20 years. Wisconsin won 36-21 in 1991 and again in 1992 by a score of 29-14. The last time they played one another, the Cornhuskers won 27-14. That was back in 1997.

The Iowa Hawkeyes are idle this weekend with a bye. They open up their conference schedule with a road game against Penn State Saturday, Oct. 8.

The Northern Illinois University Huskies football team will open up the Mid America Conference portion of their 2011 season on the road this weekend. The Huskies will be in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., Saturday, Oct. 1, to face the Central Michigan University Chippewas. The Chippewas are 1-3 coming into the game, and the Huskies are 2-2.

Last Saturday, Sept. 24, the Huskies defeated Cal-Poly 47-30 in front of their home fans in DeKalb. On the same day, the Chippewas lost to the Michigan State Spartans 45-7. Last year, the Huskies snapped a three-game losing streak to the Chippewas by defeating them in DeKalb 33-7.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2011, issue

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