Northwestern undoubtedly has a good football team this season. Unfortunately for them, they ran into an even better team on Saturday.
The Wildcats hung close against No. 6 Ohio State in Saturday's Big Ten Championship Game before ultimately failling to the Buckeyes 45-24. However, Chicago's Big Ten Team deserves credit for not going down quietly.
Trailing Ohio State 24-7 at halftime, Northwestern came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter. Quarterback Clayton Thorson led the Wildcats to two quick touchdown drives in less than seven minutes, cutting Ohio State's lead to 24-21.
Northwestern never took the lead away from Ohio State, though. After the Buckeyes' lead was cut to three points, Dwayne Haskins went on to throw three more touchdown passes, single-handedly burying Northwestern.
Haskins, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, finished the night 34-of-41 with 499 passing yards, five touchdowns and one interception. Haskins earned the game's MVP award for his efforts. Thorson finished the night 26-of-43 with 265 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Ohio State likely is headed to the Rose Bowl; as good as their performance was, it is unlikely they will leap No. 5 Oklahoma (winners of Saturday's Big 12 Championship Game).
No. 1 Alabama beat No. 4 Georgia in Saturday's SEC Championship Game, so Ohio State likely will rise to No. 5 in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Northwestern finishes the 2018 season 8-5 (8-1 in conference play). Despite the loss, they certainly will be awarded with a top bowl game as winners of the Big Ten West Division.
One school stands alone atop the Big Ten men's basketball standings: Illinois
Saturday, the Fighting Illini (7-2, 15-5) scored a big road win against Michigan (2-6, 11-8). Morgan Park alumnus Ayo Dosunmu drilled a heavily contested, last-second midrange jumper, giving the Illini a 64-62 win over the Wolverines.
Dosunmu finished the game with a career-high 27 points.
After a 1-2 start to Big Ten play, Illinois has rattled off six straight conference wins. They're a half game ahead of Michigan State (6-2, 14-5) for first place. Next up: a matchup with Minnesota (5-4, 11-8) on Thursday in Champaign.
Illinois basketball has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2013 and has endured losing records in three of the last four seasons. However, things are looking up for the Fighting Illini.
Three straight Big Ten wins have the Illini 4-2 in the league, good for second place and the No. 24 spot in the latest AP poll. It’s the first time the Illini have been ranked since Dec. 2014.
Coach Brad Underwood went 26-39 in his first two seasons in charge, but things have turned around this season. A win against Michigan on Dec. 11 gave the Illini a marquee win, but losses to Missouri and Michigan State followed soon after. The current three-game winning streak has featured a blowout win against Purdue, a one-point win at Wisconsin and a three-point win against a surprisingly good Rutgers team.
Illinois’ RPI is currently 42 so they’re far from a lock to get in the tournament, but the Illini are in good shape as of now. The last season the Illini were ranked, they had to settle for an NIT bid.
Chicago native and Morgan Park High School product Ayo Dosunmu leads the team with 15.5 points per game.