November 14, 2009

A thing of beauty in an ugly game

Northwestern started its second drive of the third quarter exactly where it didn't want to be: at the 1-yard line. A 51-yard punt by Illinois' Matt Santella was downed just three feet from the goal line and the Wildcats, clinging to a 7-3 lead, had to begin their drive in the shadow of their own goal post with the Illinois crowd roaring in their ears.

But from that dangerous precipice, Northwestern mounted a 99-yard touchdown drive that can best be described as a thing of beauty in an otherwise ugly game. And the Wildcat offense -- whose eight drives to that point had produced four punts, two missed field goals, a turnover on downs and a touchdown on a short field -- changed the complexion of the game by ripping off four straight big plays.

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