Halftime Rapid Reaction

Halftime Rapid Reaction

A quick look at the first half from Evanston, where Northwestern leads Illinois 27-14.

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Despite a cold, cold day at Ryan Field, both offenses didn't take long to warm up Saturday.

Northwestern took a 27-14 lead at halftime behind a solid rushing attack. The Wildcats piled up 190 yards on the ground, averaging 6.1 yards per carry.

Illinois put together two touchdown drives, one led by Nathan Scheelhaase and the other by Reilly O'Toole. The Illini were balanced, compiling 104 yards passing and 101 yards rushing.

Player of the half: Northwestern: RB Venric Mark: 13 carries, 94 yards, one TD.

Illinois: RB Donovonn Young: seven carries, 67 yards, two catches, 12 yards, one TD.

Stat of the half: Total yards. The teams put up nearly the same amount of yards -- Northwestern: 208, Illinois: 205.

What went right: Moving the ball. Illinois was 4-of-6 on third down and was able to move the ball well on two drives. The playcalling was diverse and a total of four players ran the ball and five caught at least one pass in the half.

What went wrong: Penalties and turnovers. The Illini were flagged eight times for 88 yards, including two sideline interference fouls, one of which was because coach Tim Beckman was on the field of play and made contact with an official during an interception return.

Illinois had two turnovers -- a fumble by kick returner Justin Green and an interception thrown by Scheelhaase. The Wildcats scored 14 points following the takeaways.

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