Nov. 19, 2012
Northwestern (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten) vs. Illinois (2-9, 0-7 Big Ten)
Saturday, Nov. 24 11 a.m. CT
Ryan Field (47,130) Evanston, Ill.
TV: BTN (Crew: Eric Collins, Derek Rackley, Jon Jansen)
Radio: 720 WGN (Chicagoland) (Dave Eanet, Ted Albrecht, Sam Valenzisi) and WNUR (89.3 FM)
Live Twitter Updates: @NU_SportsLIVE | Gametracker
Online Video: BTN2Go
Northwestern vs. Illinois -- Weekly Release | 2012 Northwestern Football Yearbook
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WATCH: Weekly Press Conference (Full)
| Weekly Press Conference (Free Preview)
Skip Myslenski: Michigan State, Upon Further Review
Before learning where it will spend the upcoming holiday bowl season, Northwestern attempts to end the regular season on a winning note and reclaim the Land of Lincoln trophy from rival Illinois Saturday at Ryan Field (11 a.m. CT, BTN).
Saturday's Senior Day affair marks the final appearance at Ryan Field for the 24 members of the winningest five-year senior class in Northwestern school history. They are: DL Brian Arnfelt, S Hunter Bates, SB Anthony Battle, S Jared Carpenter, DL Bo Cisek, DL Davon Custis, OL Neal Deiters, CB Demetrius Dugar, CB Quinn Evans, WR Demetrius Fields, PK Steve Flaherty, LB Roderick Goodlow, RB Tyris Jones, WR Drew Moulton, OL Brian Mulroe, LB David Nwabuisi, OL Taylor Paxton, OL Chuck Porcelli, SB Tim Riley, SB Brian Smith, LB Will Studlien, OL Pat Ward, SB Evan Watkins and DL Quentin Williams.
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Since arriving on campus prior to the 2008 season, the group has been part of 38 victories--two more than the previous record set by last year's senior class--and has helped Northwestern reach postseason play all five years of their career. Notable achievements by the class include:
Apperances in the Alamo Bowl (2008), Outback Bowl (2009), TicketCity Bowl (2010) and Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (2011). Three of the four games were decided by seven points or less (two in OT) games were decided by seven points or less, with two (vs. Missouri, vs. Auburn) decided in overtime.
20 Big Ten wins, including victories over all but two teams in the conference (Ohio State, Penn State)
Five wins vs. nationally ranked teams: No. 20 Minnesota (2008), No. 8 Iowa and No. 17 Wisconsin (2009), No. 13 Iowa (2010) and No. 9 Nebraska (2011).
One item left on the to-do list of the current senior class is to reclaim the Land of Lincoln Trophy from rival Illinois for the third time in their five years at Northwestern. The 'Cats defeated their instate foes in the final year of the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk trophy in 2008 and also won the inaugural battle for the Land of Lincoln Trophy the following year. The Illini have claimed back-to-back meetings, however, topping NU at Wrigley Field in 2010 and rallying from an 18-point second-half deficit to maintain the trophy last year in Champaign.
The seniors also can help their head coach reach a milestone with a win today as Pat Fitzgerald enters the game needing one victory to tie Lynn Waldorf's school record of 49 career coaching wins.
After performing steadily throughout his true freshman campaign, superback Dan Vitale enjoyed a breakout game in NU's win last week over Michigan State. The Wheaton, Ill., native notched nine receptions for 110 yards--surpassing his previous single-game bests of three catches and 30 yards--and set up the eventual game-winning field goal with his career-long 41-yard reception down to the MSU 23-yard line. Vitale, who was named the Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week Monday, became the first NU superback to crack 100 receiving yards in a game since Drake Dunsmore went for 112 at Indiana on Oct. 29, 2011.
Series Record: Illinois leads, 54-46-5
Series in NU Home Games: Illinois leads, 27-26-3
Last Meeting: Oct. 1, 2011 in Champaign (Illinois 38, Northwestern 35)
These two teams have met every year since 1927 and first played for a rivalry trophy (the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk) in 1945. Northwestern won the final Tomahawk trophy in 2008, after which the Land of Lincoln Trophy was instituted.
Although the 2010 contest played at Wrigley Field was technically considered a Northwestern home game, the site change preserved NU's streak of victories against its rival in the comforts of Ryan Field. The 'Cats have won three in a row in their home stadium over the Illini, with Illinois' last victory at Ryan Field coming on Nov. 23, 2002.
With an 8-3 record and one game remaining, Northwestern is ready to go bowling for the fifth consecutive season in 2012. The Wildcats will likely learn their destination for the upcoming postseason on Sunday, Dec. 2. Be sure to visit NUsports.com in the coming weeks for game announcements and information on how to purchase tickets to cheer on the 'Cats in the postseason!
Download the complete Northwestern weekly release in the PDF linked at the top of the page.
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