After an onslaught of injuries, Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter played in just a handful of games and was listed as doubtful for Saturday's finale. Passing specialist Trevor Siemian has thrown for just one touchdown and six interceptions since the Ohio State loss.
At the very least, Siemian will have a chance to leave an impression on a season that's been nothing but infamous.
The Michigan State loss may have been the last game of Colter's storied career, but the final contest in a season that never seemed like it would end. But no matter how bad 0-7 looks, the senior quarterback who could go down as one of the best in program history remains fixed on his team going 1-0 this weekend.
"It's been a great time, we've had a lot of memories here," Colter said. "Just trying to finish the season off strong, get a win and leave feeling good."
For Siemian, this season has been one of progression. With the increased playing time because of Colter's injuries, he's gained valuable experience. He said he's a player who judges his successes in terms of wins and losses, but there are takeaways from this season regardless of the team's record.
"When we've been struggling a little bit, there's a tendency as a quarterback to want to press, so I just need stay within myself and manage the game," Siemian said. "Managing the down and distance is probably the biggest thing to keep in mind for me."
Siemian and the Wildcats will square off against an Illinois team that just snapped a recent six-game losing streak by defeating Purdue 20-16 last weekend.
They have Nathan Scheelhaase at quarterback, a senior who's passed for 2,965 yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season. He's the conference leader in passing yards per game.
Siemian said that the team's done thinking of previous weeks and focused on snagging one final win to close the season.
"This team has done a really good job of putting things in the past. There's nothing you can really do about it," he said. "We've got nothing to lose at this point."