That is not how Illinois fans were hoping the season finale would go.

The Illini entered Saturday’s game vs Northwestern on a four-game losing streak in the Land of Lincoln rivalry. However, with a bowl-eligible squad that has played brilliantly at times this season, expectations were high that Illinois would get the win.

Unfortunately, Illinois entered the game without a number of key players, and it proved to be too much. Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats dialed up a vintaged defensive performance and rolled to a 29-10 game.

After the loss, head coach Lovie Smith took responsibility for the loss, saying he has to do a better job. He admitted disappointment for taking the loss, but also pointed out a bowl win would be big for the Illini.

Jeremy Werner with the Illini Inquirer shared Smith’s post-game comments: