Defensive tackle Josh Brent, who initially was considered questionable for Northwestern after an MCL sprain vs. Ohio State, was feeling better than expected and has not been ruled out for NU. Illinois’ only other injury of consequence is the turf toe of Eddie McGee, and McGee said he’ll be ready to go.
There is a way the Illini could revive their goal of finishing with a winning season, which would give them their first back-to-back winning seasons since 1989-90. If they beat NU, land a bowl slot and win their bowl, they could get to 7-6. But the Wildcats, who are 8-3, are a confident bunch who will be difficult to beat, and Illinois still could get shut out of a bowl berth at 6-6.