Saturday, in the (ball) park. I think it was fourth-and-4.

With all due apologies to the band Chicago, Northwestern’s gutsy fourth down call summed up not just their magical season but also the terrible state of an Illinois program that might well have quit on head coach Lovie Smith.

Evan Hull’s 32-yard touchdown run, up the heart of the Illinois’ defense and through an attempted arm tackle, put an exclamation on what was a tune-up game for Northwestern ahead of next weekend’s Big Ten Championship Game. It was an emphatic win by Northwestern, beating up on a hapless Illinois side.

The run by Hull put the Wildcats up 28-3

It was a big running effort all-around from Northwestern against Illinois, including two touchdown runs by freshman Caleb Porter. Northwestern came into the rivalry game against Illinois 5-1 and ranked No. 14 in the latest College Football Playoff ranking.