(click the gif.)
Northwestern was up 18 against Illinois and, in typical Northwestern fashion, blew the lead. Dan Persa looked phenomenal but eventually came out of the game and things kinda spiralled downhill. AJ Jenkins ran roughshod all over Northwestern's defense, catching what seemed like dozens of passes for 30+-yards on his way to multiple school records. Northwestern's playcalling was comically bad.
We all kinda knew that Northwestern was gonna lose even after taking a 35-31 lead after an Illinois fumble gave NU the ball in enemy territory. Illinois had a minute and twenty seconds left. Although NU's defense was stout in the first half, anybody who watched the second half probably knew what was going to happen. Of course, Illinois drove the field and scored with 13 seconds left.
Who knows whether Dan Persa will be healthy at any point over the rest of the season. All I know is that NU is 0-1 in conference and in serious danger of going below .500 for the first time in a few years after next week's game against Michigan, especially if Persa isn't up to speed.