What is the Land of Lincoln Trophy?

    The Land of Lincoln Trophy is on the line Saturday as the Northwestern Wildcats take on the Illinois Fighting Illini.

    The Land of Lincoln Trophy is up for grabs, as the Northwestern Wildcats take on the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday. They will be meeting up for the 117th time in the history of the rivalry.

    Here is a closer look into the rivalry and how the two teams have fared.

    History of the Land of Lincoln Trophy

    Their rivalry began back in 1892 with a 16-16 tie. Both teams agreed on a traveling trophy, which would be known as the “Sweet Sioux Tomahawk.” The original trophy started as a wooden Native American before it was stolen and changed to a replica tomahawk.

    This tomahawk was first given out in 1945, as Northwestern won 13-7 win at home. This rivalry featured the Tomahawk reward until 2008. After that game, the reward was retired because the NCAA mandated that any Native American imagery must be removed from college athletics.

    Since 2009, the teams have been playing for the “Land of Lincoln Trophy.” The name came from the state’s nickname, a trophy depicting a bronze replica of a stovepipe hat, worn by Abraham Lincoln, was developed.

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    The series has been close between the teams, but it has been in favor of Northwestern over the last ten years. The Wildcats have won seven of the last ten games between the two teams. Still, Illinois has won the last two games by a combined score of 88-17. The last game that was a single-digit contest was in 2018 when Northwestern beat the Fighting Illini 24-16.

    Illinois leads the series with a 57-54-5 overall record. The Fighting Illini also had the largest margin of victory, beating Northwestern 66-0 back in 1894. To top it off, Illinois owns the longest winning streak, as they won seven straight games twice — from 1913 through 1928 and again from 1979 through 1985.

    Northwestern comes into the game with a 6-5 record after beating Purdue 23-15 last week to become bowl-eligible. Meanwhile, the Fighting Illini need one more win to become bowl-eligible, as they are sitting at a 5-6 record on the season. Both teams will face off at 3:30 pm EST on the Big Ten Network.

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