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Illini locker room full of grim weepers

Updated: December 26, 2012 9:49AM

Illinois’ locker room was pretty grim after its 50-14 loss to Northwestern.

‘‘It was at an all-time low — seniors crying and everything,’’ running back Josh Ferguson said Saturday. ‘‘There’s not much I can say that hasn’t already been said. Personally, it hurts. We have to remember this whole season, not just this game. Go back to the drawing board and fix things.’’

Tough numbers

The Northwestern meltdown was Illinois’ 14th consecutive Big Ten loss. That leaves it one short of the school record set from 1996 to ’98.

All things considered, Illinois’ 19-game all-time Big Ten winless streak also could be in play when it travels to Indiana on Nov. 9, 2013.

Illinois, which went 0-16-3 from 1977 to ’79, opens with Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Penn State in the fall.

More tough numbers

Even though Illinois drew first blood for the fourth time in five games, its lead lasted only 21/2 minutes.

Northwestern went ahead 10-7, scoring twice in 32 seconds with the aid of Justin Green’s fumble on a kickoff return. That was the first of four Illinois turnovers, which set up 28 of NU’s points.

Illinois had eight penalties for 88 yards, all of them in the first half.

Even though Illinois had 205 yards to NU’s 208 at halftime, the Wildcats led 27-14, scoring their first two touchdowns on 31 yards of offense.

‘‘Not the way to end a rivalry by any means,’’ Illinois coach Tim Beckman said. ‘‘The credit goes to Northwestern. The Wildcats played an outstanding game, played hard and made plays when they needed to make plays.

‘‘We had too many penalties and did things you can’t do. Turnovers, penalties, not tackling as well as we’re capable of tackling. It wasn’t one of our better games.’’

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