Led by stout defense, Wisconsin continues unbeaten streak with 24-10 win over Illinois

Cornerback Derrick Tindal had his first interception of the season in Wisconsin's 24-10 win over Illinois. 

Image By: Brandon Moe

CHAMPAIGN, ILL. — After its first nine plays on offense, No. 5 Wisconsin (5-0 Big Ten, 8-0 overall) had amassed a mere 13 yards. But as the Badgers prepared for their third punt in as many series, they received a break courtesy of the Illinois punt return unit. 

A Fighting Illini illegal substitution penalty on fourth-and-four gave Wisconsin a fresh set of downs, and sent UW’s offense back onto the field. 12 plays later, junior fullback Alec Ingold punched in a fourth down run, giving the Badgers a touchdown advantage.

UW wouldn’t look back as Wisconsin, yet again led by its stable of running backs and stellar defense, grinded out a victory, knocking off the Fighting Illini (0-5, 2-5), 24-10.

Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor carried the Badgers’ offense for the majority of the first quarter, but a left leg injury early in the second quarter forced other UW ball carriers into action. Seven Badgers had a first-half carry as redshirt sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook once again struggled to push the ball downfield via the air.

Wisconsin’s defense, though, remained stout as it forced two turnovers and surrendered a mere field goal in the game’s first 30 minutes.

Coming out of the locker room up 17-3, the Badgers got off to another slow start on offense, punting on their lone two possessions of the third quarter.

In Taylor’s absence, freshman running back Garrett Groshek and sophomore running Bradrick Shaw received the majority of the work in the backfield, but neither ran like Wisconsin’s starters, as both finished with under 55 total rushing yards.

Hornibrook threw for only 135 yards on 52 percent passing as UW’s offense struggled for the majority of the second half.

After an interception by senior safety Joe Ferguson gave the Badgers possession with 8:36 to play in the game, Wisconsin mustered its lone touchdown of the half, on a throwback lateral to left tackle Michael Deiter.

On the ensuing possession, Wisconsin's defense surrendered its first touchdown of the game, but with only 49 seconds left, it was brief glimmer of joy for the Illini faithful.

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