SAN FRANCISCO – Terry Hawthorne returned an interception 39 yards for Illinois’ first touchdown late in the third quarter and the Illini snapped a six-game losing streak by beating UCLA 20-14 on Saturday in the Fight Hunger Bowl.
Nathan Scheelhaase added a 60-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Jenkins midway through the fourth quarter to seal the first victory for Illinois (7-6) since beating Indiana on Oct. 8.
It also gave the Illini bowl wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history.
UCLA (6-8) was held to 18 yards rushing in its third straight loss. Kevin Prince threw two TD passes, including one in the closing minute to Nelson Rosario after the game had been decided.
“This is not the way we wanted to go out, to send our seniors out,” tight end Joseph Fauria said. “I guess there’s some sort of relief for guys that have another year and looking forward to new beginnings. At the same time, this is going to be a bad taste in our mouth for these next six months or something. But we’re excited for new beginnings.”