The Fighting Illini- 5-6 overall and 2-5 in the Big Ten- will host No. 17 Northwestern- 9-2 on the season 5-2 in the Big Ten) at Soldier Field on Saturday (2:30 pm CT, ESPNU). On the line is not only the Land of Lincoln trophy but the Illini are seeking to try and come away with bowl eligibility. Northwestern is having a good season and will not go down easily. This would be the 2nd time in two seasons the resulting win against Northwestern qualify the Illini for a bowl.
Another notable highlight regarding Saturday's game against the Wildcats is the fact that the action will take place at Soldier’s Field. It marks their first return to the city since their Sept 14th loss to Washington. The last time the team met the Wildcats in the city was when they played on November 10th 2010.
This seasons Soldier Field game is the first of a three-game series at the historic venue, which will see the Fighting Illini and Wildcats go head to head locally in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
This is an important game for the Fighting Illini as they have been within one win of reaching na bowl for the last several weeks. They need to get to 6 wins to qualify for post season play. It would be quite an accomplishment with losing their coach at the start of the season. In recent post season play the Fighting Illini won the 2010 Texas Bowl (over Baylor) and 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (over UCLA), then endured a two-year bowl drought before returning to postseason play at the 2014 Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl.