Illinois and Northwestern trade early touchdowns in the first quarter

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Wes Lunt dives into the end zone on Illinois’ first drive of the game against Northwestern. (Photo via @illinifootball)

With their season on the line, the Illini struck first against Northwestern in the Land of Lincoln trophy game. But the lead was short lived with Northwestern answering on the very next drive.

After forcing a Northwestern punt to start the game, Illinois took over near the 50-yard-line for their first offensive drive. The Illini slowly moved down the field, converting a third-and-long and a fourth down before getting into the red zone.

After falling just short on a pair of runs, Wes Lunt called his own number and pushed his way behind the offensive line into the end zone.

When play resumed, Northwestern’s offense found their rhythm. Quarterback Clayton Thorson used two big passing plays to dissect the Illinois secondary. A few plays after a 48-yard pass to Austin Carr, Thorson found Dan Vitale for a touchdown.

The two rivals are playing at Soldier Field in their final regular season game of the year. With Northwestern already bowl-bound, the Illini need a win Saturday to become bowl eligible.

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