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Illinois rips Northwestern, falls short in Big Ten West bid

Illinois players celebrate with the Land of Lincoln trophy after a 41-3 win over Northwestern on Saturday in Evanston.

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Safety Sydney Brown returned a touchdown and an interception for scores and Illinois snapped a three-game losing streak with a 41-3 rout of Northwestern.

Brown raced 53 yards for a touchdown after Northwestern quarterback Cole Freeman fumbled, then sprinted in for a 39-yard score off an interception, both in the third quarter.

Illinois safety Sydney Brown poses with the Land of Lincoln trophy after a 41-3 win over Northwestern on Saturday in Evanston. Vashoune Russell/for Illinois Public Media

Illinois entered with a chance to win the Big Ten West and advance to the conference championship for the first time.

However, Purdue defeated Indiana 30-16 to win the division title and will play Michigan at Indianapolis next Saturday.

Brown’s twin brother, running back Chase Brown, punched in a 1-yard touchdown and finished with 61 yards on 19 carries.

Illinois finishes the regular season 8-4, their best record since 2007. They will await a bowl bid to be announced in the next few weeks. 

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Associated Press

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