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November 29, 2013

WR staff predictions: Illinois

Will Northwestern get its first Big Ten win in its last attempt, or will the Wildcats go winless in conference for the first time since 1998?

Will anemic Northwestern or hapless Illinois take home the coveted Land of Lincoln Trophy?

Is it possible for both squads to lose?

WildcatReport staff has the answers to those questions and more in this week's installment of our fearless predictions.

Aric "Hey There" DiLalla

Northwestern wins if... Kain Colter is healthy enough to have an impact.

Northwestern loses if... this game becomes a shoot out. You know, because NU can't score.

The bottom line: I'm kind of at a loss. I guess the Cats could keep it close if Colter plays, but otherwise I don't see a way for this team to win. It's time to put out missing posters for NU's offense.

Prediction: Illinois 21 Northwestern 17

"Cool Hand" Luke Srodulski

Northwestern wins if... the secondary prevents big plays. The Illini will probably take several chances downfield, so the corners and safeties have to be ready and aware.

Northwestern loses if... Trevor Siemian stays mistake-free. Even if Colter plays, chances are we won't be very effective, so Siemian will really have to step up.

The bottom line: It's going to be a tight one, but Illinois pulls it out. The Illini are coming off a win and playing on their home field, while the Wildcats are in as bad a state as ever.

Prediction: Illinois 20 Northwestern 17

Louie "C.K." Vaccher

Northwestern wins if… Colter plays and is reasonably effective, and the Wildcats do a much better job converting third downs than it has in recent weeks.

Northwestern loses if… The defense keeps this a low-scoring affair. You can't win a shootout when you are armed with a cap gun.

The bottom line: I think this will be a close game and, well, you've seen how Northwestern has done in close games this year. The Cats just make too many little mistakes to win.

Prediction: Illinois 23 Northwestern 20

Larry "Slick" Watts

Northwestern wins if... the offense can put a lot of points on the board and the defense can score enough three-and-outs.

Northwestern loses if... this game becomes a shootout and Illinois has the last scoring drive.

The bottom line: A season of high expectations has turned into the biggest disappointment in Northwestern history. Does the team every Wildcat fan predicted show up in the final game of the year?

Prediction: Illinois 42 Northwestern 31

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