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Sutton lifts Northwestern over Illinois

Nov 18, 2006 - 10:20 PM EVANSTON, Illinois (Ticker) -- Tyrell Sutton ensured Northwestern would not end up last in the Big Ten Conference.

Sutton rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown as the Wildcats captured a 27-16 victory over Illinois in the season finale for both teams.

Entering the contest tied with the Fighting Illini for the final spot in the conference, the Wildcats (4-9, 2-6 Big Ten) overcame 16 straight points in the second quarter to snap a three-game losing streak here.

Falling behind, 16-14, with 2:43 remaining before the half, Northwestern put together an eight-play drive that Joel Howells capped with a 36-yard field goal with 10 seconds left before the half.

Sutton, who finished with exactly 1,000 yards in his sophomore season, added to the lead with a two-yard TD plunge with 12:20 left in the third quarter.

Howells added a 22-yard field goal in the fourth to round out the scoring for the Wildcats, who beat the Illini for the fourth straight time.

Northwestern quarterback C.J. Bacher completed 22-of-30 attempts for 269 yards and a TD.

Rashard Mendenhall had 113 yards on five carries, including a 86-yard TD jaunt in the second quarter that cut Illinois' deficit to 14-7.

The Illini (2-10, 1-7) also received a safety from defensive lineman Doug Pilcher and quarterback Juice Williams rushed nine yards for a score and a 16-14 edge. However, Illinois ended up finishing the season losing its last seven games.

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