Nov. 8, 1997
Northwestern Defeats Illinois
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Chris Hamdorf threw three touchdown passes -- two to John Burden
in the third quarter -- as Northwestern dealt Big Ten Conference
foe Illinois its school record-tying 15th straight loss, 34-21.
Adrian Autry ran for 111 yards and a touchdown and Brian Gowins
kicked two field goals for the Wildcats (4-7, 2-5 Big Ten), who
snapped a two-game skid of their own. Northwestern is 2-6 after
a 2-1 start.
It has been a long season for Illinois (0-9, 0-6), which had an
early 7-0 lead but stumbled again, matching the school record
for consecutive losses set from 1960-62. The Fighting Illini,
who visit Ohio State new week, are one loss from matching the
0-10 campaign in 1969 as the worst start in school history.
Hamdorf completed 15-of-19 passes for 183 yards. A fumbled punt
by Illinois' Robert Jackson set up his 12-yard TD pass to Brian
Musso that tied it, 7-7, with 2:32 left in the first quarter.
Burden caught touchdown passes of 31 and 25 yards from Hamdorf
less than five minutes apart in the third quarter, giving the
Wildcats a 34-7 lead.
Autry capped a 64-yard march in 11 plays with a seven-yard TD
run with 9:53 to go in the second quarter that gave Northwestern
the lead for good at 14-7. Gowins added kicks of 38 and 44 yards
-- the second set up by another fumbled punt -- to give the
Wildcats a 20-7 halftime advantage.
Mark Hoekstra replaced and ineffective freshman Tim Lavery and
completed 12-of-20 for 118 yards and a touchdown. Lavery threw
an early TD pass to Steve Hayard but was 8-of-15 for just 45
yards and an interception.
Illinois tailback Robert Holcombe had 18 carries for 87 yards
and a fourth-quarter TD, eclipsing 1,000 yards for the third
straight season. He also caught five passes for 45 yards,
including a 28-yarder from Hoekstra that completed the scoring.
The Fighting Illini hold a 47-49-5 edge in the all-time series
but the Wildcats have won the last three meetings. Northwestern
outgained Illinois, 390-234.