Northwestern 50, Illinois 14: Bad to worse

Northwestern 50, Illinois 14: Bad to worse

EVANSTON — As Northwestern’s players raced to the northwest corner of Ryan Field to celebrate with the Land of Lincoln Trophy, Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald, game ball in hand, embraced Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and whispered a word of encouragement to the embattled fourth-year junior.

“He said he knows it’s been a tough season and just kind of wishing me the best for the future,” Scheelhaase said.

Northwestern’s 50-14 win officially brought an end to an Illinois season that couldn’t be done soon enough.

Pick any word with a negative connotation — awful, ugly, depressing, disaster — they all fit when describing what went down in Tim Beckman’s first season.

Illinois (2-10, 0-8 Big Ten) went winless in the conference for the fourth time since 1997. During that stretch,  four other Big Ten teams have gone winless in the league — none more than once. The Illini ended 2012 on a nine-game losing streak and have lost 16 of 19 dating to last season.

“The losing hurts. You want your kids — just like you want your sons — to experience winning. We didn’t experience winning this year; it’s one of the hardest years I’ve ever been through,” an emotional Beckman said.

The Illini were penalized eight times for 88 yards — all in the first half — and turned the ball over four times in their most lopsided loss to their in-state rivals since getting shellacked 61-23 in 2000.

The Wildcats (9-3, 5-3) rushed for 338 yards and got touchdown runs from Venric Mark (18 carries, 127 yards), quarterback Kain Colter (14 carries, 88 yards) and Mike Trumpy.

While Northwestern prepares for a bowl game, the Illini shift immediately into evaluation mode.

“Every one of our coaches will be evaluated,” Beckman said. “Every one of our coordinators, we’ll evaluate our offensive coaches (and our defensive coaches). Everyone on our training staff, we’ll evaluate our training room, we’ll evaluate everything we have to see if there’s things that we can do better. I think that’s probably done everywhere.”

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports

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ui1969 wrote on November 25, 2012 at 9:11 am

I don't have any comments.

PeterE wrote on November 25, 2012 at 10:11 am

Tim Beckman's evaluation is that he is in the wrong profession. He would make a good Bozo.

illinifaningeorgia wrote on November 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm

That's a slap at the quality of the clown industry.

Seriously, HE'LL be doing the evaluating?  Isn't that like the inmates judging the warden?  If he didn't know that his assistants were inept bums when he picked them, how can he effectively evaluate their performance?  Furthermore, if he decides that some (or all) of them will have to go,  is he really the person to hire their replacements?

Dan Bloeme wrote on November 25, 2012 at 9:11 pm



















butkus50 wrote on November 25, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Beckman need only look into a mirror to evaluate the Illini program. Beckman is an embarrassment to Illinois, the coaching profession, and himself. He really is a clown and did nothing right all year!


floridaturbo wrote on November 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Ohio State gets Urban Meyer and he takes basically the same team that did poorly last season to 12-0 under difficult circumstances.  Brian Kelly performs a miracle at Notre Dame.  We all know what happened here, the place where quarterbacks get worse each year, as do the coaches.  Will any of us, in our lifetimes, see the kind of coaching that these teams seem to find.  Michigan, too.  How long, o Lord, how long?