On Saturday afternoon, football was played in Wrigley Field for the first time in 40 years, and Illinois running back Mikel LeShoure made the event all the more memorable. His 330 yards on the ground set a school record and propelled the Illini over Big Ten rival Northwestern, 48-27.
The entire Illinois offense, it seemed, preferred to conduct business on the ground. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase rushed for 97 yards -- more than doubling his passing yards on the day -- and Jason Ford added another 86 rushing yards to bring the team's rushing total to 519 yards.
Northwestern also performed well on the ground, with Mike Trumpy rushing for 127 yards. After climbing out of a 14-0 hole in the first half, Northwestern's attack fizzled. Quarterback Evan Watkins filled in for the sorely-missed Dan Persa, who was injured at the end of last Saturday's game and learned he would be out for the rest of the season.
The confines of Wrigley Field turned out not to have much of an impact on the game itself, although one touchdown was scored at the foreboding east end zone following an interception return. The goals were not switched at halftime; rather, the teams simply traded bench areas at the half.
With this win, Illinois improves to 6-5 and is bowl-eligible. Northwestern, meanwhile, drops to 7-4.