Illinois’ pitiful 2–10 season and 50–14 loss to in-state rival Northwestern were both summed up in one ignominious moment on Saturday afternoon.
With the Illini trailing 10–7 near the end of the first quarter, QB Nathan Scheelhaase was picked off by Wildcats LB David Nwabuisi, who returned it deep into Illinois territory. In addition, Illini head coach Tim Beckman was running down the sideline when he was knocked down by an official on the play, resulting in a 15-yard sideline interference penalty.
Appropriately, that embarrassment would open up the floodgates as Illinois was outscored 40–7 the rest of the way. Any Illini fan looking for something to remember about the 2012 season can (regretfully) choose between two sideline faux pas courtesy of Beckman: Saturday’s interference penalty or when he was caught dipping earlier in the season.