By Greg Mroz
Illinois 33, Northwestern 17
Reilly O’Toole: The senior who has never had a chance to be a full time starter came to play. In addition to three touchdown passes, O’Toole has run the ball 12 times for 78 yards. He has played by far of the best games in his career, and the Chicagoland native barring a 4th quarter Northwestern comeback will be a big reason why Illinois is going to a bowl game.
Zack Oliver to Tony Jones: Oliver finally got himself in rhythm, throwing three passes for 52 yards on NU’s touchdown drive that made the score 33-17. Jones has 4 of Oliver’s 6 completions on the day. After a disastrous 1st half, Pat Fitzgerald stuck with Oliver knowing that he was the best chance Northwestern had to throw it effectively.
Justin Jackson: Quietly, Jackson has had an effective day. He has 21 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown. Oliver’s ability to throw the ball more precisely has opened up the holes for Jackson. It will be interesting how Illinois will play the run when Jackson goes off tackle. He has shown all throughout the season the ability to be able to break tackles.