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 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.