Halftime Reaction: Northwestern 20, Illinois 17

Rohan Nadkarni, Gameday Editor

The Key:

Junior quarterback Trevor Siemian is playing admirably. Filling in for senior Kain Colter, who is missing his last game at Northwestern, Siemian has played the best he has all season. He already has more than 200 yards passing and even flashed some scrambling ability.

Siemian’s best throw was a deep ball on third down that went for a 54-yard gain. Unfortunately, the Wildcats had a little more trouble in the red zone, settling for one field and failing on a fake field goal attempt.

But at least we got to see Pat “Riverboat” Fitzgerald. After much criticism, he tried to utilize a fake on fourth down and go for a touchdown instead of a field goal. Maybe not the best idea to take Siemian out with how well he was playing, but the call showed progress.

Senior kicker Jeff Budzien’s two field goals gave him the school’s single season record for made field goals at 22, breaking the previous record of 20.

What Northwestern needs to win:

Just keep going. Illinois is not very good. If Siemian keeps this up, and the defense plays to its capabilities, NU may (gulp) win a conference game.

— Rohan Nadkarni