No. 24 Illini catch Northwestern, 38-35

October 1, 2011 - 3:40 PM
Northwestern Illinois Football

Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins (8) scores a touchdown against Northwestern during the first half of the NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011, in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase scored a 1-yard touchdown with 13 seconds left Saturday to lead No. 24 Illinois to a 38-35 comeback win over Northwestern.

The sophomore QB threw for a career-high 391 yards and three touchdowns for the Illini (5-0, 1-0). All three TD passes went to A.J. Jenkins, who had 12 catches for a school-record 268 yards.

Scheelhaase had to engineer two comebacks to pull out the win over the Wildcats (2-2, 0-1).

First, Illinois scored 21 unanswered points after Northwestern took a 28-10 third-quarter lead. Then Scheelhaase scored the game-winning touchdown after a late touchdown run by Jacob Schmidt gave the Wildcats a 35-31 with just over a minute to play.

Wildcats quarterback Dan Persa played his first game in almost a year after tearing an Achilles tendon. He left late in the game but it wasn't immediately clear why.