WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Somebody had to win.

After a lengthy deadlock, Illinois made enough plays late to get by Purdue and end its 20-game conference losing skid. Taylor Zalewski made two field goals in the fourth quarter to help the Fighting Illini defeat the Boilermakers 20-16 on Saturday afternoon.

Illinois had allowed a combined 112 points in its previous two games, losses to Indiana and Ohio State. Aside from a seven-point loss to Penn State on Nov. 2, its defeats during the streak were by at least 17 points. So it didn't matter that Purdue (1-10, 0-7) entered the game on an eight-game losing skid. Loud music, loud cheers and some tears created a vibe in Illinois' locker room that players said hadn't existed all season. The Fighting Illini (4-7, 1-6 Big Ten) snapped a six-game losing streak and eased a bit of the pressure on Illinois coach Tim Beckman.

"To see the kids feel a little emotion after a victory, that's what athletics is about," Beckman said. "That's what football is about. It's not about me, or anybody else, it's about these players, and the monkey's off their back."

Steve Hull caught a career-high 10 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns, Nathan Scheelhaase completed 24 of 30 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns and Josh Ferguson ran for a career-high 115 yards for Illinois.

"It was a fight, and we knew it was going to be," Scheelhaase said. "Obviously, they probably circled this one on their schedule as one they could get. It was kind of a slugfest early there for a while. Honestly, we didn't make as many plays as we needed to on offense, but our defense just did a great job of stopping them."

Akeem Hunt ran for a career-high 102 yards and a touchdown and Danny Etling completed 20 of 29 passes for 163 yards for Purdue.

Purdue had a chance to win late. The Boilermakers reached the Illinois 30-yard line for a fourth-and-9, but Etling was pressured and threw an interception to V'Angelo Bentley to end the threat with just under a minute to play.

It was a disappointing loss for the Boilermakers, who forced four turnovers but didn't score after any of them. It will be the first time since 1993 that the Boilermakers won't win at least three games.

"It's just fixing the little things and the attention to detail," Etling said. "That's what is really killing us. We just have to stop and say that this isn't going to happen anymore."

On Purdue's first possession of the game, Hunt took a pitch, made some nifty moves and broke loose for a 62-yard touchdown run, giving the Boilermakers a 7-0 lead just 85 seconds into the game. The Boilermakers had been shut out in the first quarter of its five previous games.

Illinois responded by going 80 yards in nine plays to tie the score. Scheelhaase found Hull found for a 3-yard touchdown pass.

Etling connected with Cameron Posey for an 8-yard scoring pass to give Purdue a 14-7 lead. Brandon Cottom gained three yards on a fourth-and-2 to keep the drive going. Etling connected on all five of his passes for 44 yards on the possession.

Purdue led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter, but the Boilermakers maintained their advantage for just six seconds in the second quarter. Scheelhaase's 30-yard touchdown pass to Hull tied the score.

Late in the quarter, Illinois' Spencer Harris caught a pass from Scheelhaase, but Ricardo Allen forced him to fumble and Bruce Gaston recovered at the Illinois 26-yard line. The Boilermakers failed to capitalize as Paul Griggs missed left on a 35-yard field-goal try with 2 seconds left in the first half, and the score was 14-all at the break.

Illinois threatened on its first possession of the third quarter, but Allen intercepted Scheelhaase near the goal line.

Purdue caught another break when Illinois' Bentley muffed a punt and Jesse Schmitt recovered at the Illinois 27. The Boilermakers came up empty after holder Cody Webster ran on a fake field goal and was stopped short of the first down.

Frankie Williams of Purdue returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter, but it was called back because of an illegal block in the back.

Early in the fourth quarter, Hull caught a 42-yard pass from Scheelhaase to put Illinois in scoring range. Zalewski's 32-yard field goal gave the Fighting Illini a 17-14 with 12:28 remaining.

Later, Illinois appeared to score a touchdown, but Martize Barr went out of bounds before catching the ball in the end zone, so he drew an illegal touching penalty. Zalewski made a 23-yard field goal to push Illinois' lead to 20-14 with 7:08 to play.

Purdue scored a team safety on the final play of the game as Illinois ran out the clock, then the Fighting Illini began celebrating.

"I think just about everybody hugged," Beckman said. "It was outstanding. It was a win for the program."