EVANSTON, Illinois (Ticker) -- Northwestern loves working overtime.
Brett Basanez tossed a seven-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Fields on the first overtime possession as Northwestern posted a 28-21 Big Ten Conference victory over Illinois.
The Wildcats (6-5, 5-3 Big Ten) set an NCAA record with their fourth overtime game of the season. They also beat Ohio State and Indiana in overtime and lost at Texas Christian.
Illinois (3-8, 1-7) reached the Northwestern 11 on the ensuing possession, but its hopes ended when Chris Pazan's pass on 4th-and-6 fell incomplete.
The win kept Northwestern alive for a bowl bid. The Wildcats can become bowl eligible with a win at Hawaii next week.
Noah Herron rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries for Northwestern, which tied the game, 21-21, on Jeff Beckes' 73-yard punt return with 2:12 left in the fourth quarter.
Pierre Thomas ran for 131 yards and two TDs on 37 carries for the Fighting Illini. Thomas scored on runs of four and 14 yards in the second quarter to give Illinois a 14-7 halftime lead.
After Northwestern tied it on Herron's one-yard plunge midway through the third, Illinois regained the lead on Steve Weatherford's two-yard TD burst 1:35 into the fourth quarter.