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 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 12 weeks ago.
The game between two six-win teams who have already fired their head coaches matched the underwhelming expectations as there was little excitement before Hawthorne's third-quarter touchdown that gave Illinois its first lead.
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.