The Wisconsin Badgers (2-3, 0-2 conference) drop their second-straight conference match up, 34-10 to the Illinois Fighting Ilini (4-1, 1-1 conference) in Bret Bielema’s first game, back in Madison, coaching an opposing team.
Wisconsin got off to a hot start in the game, as Isaac Guerendo returned the opening kick off, 38 yards and then capped off the opening drive with a 21-yard receiving touchdown.
However, Wisconsin’s momentum quickly disappeared as Illinois outscored the Badgers, 34-3 throughout the remainder of the game.
Graham Mertz threw two first half interceptions, that led to two Tommy Devito, 1-yard rushing touchdowns, leading the Illini to a 14-10 lead at halftime.
Mertz finished the game 17-31 for 206 yards, while throwing the opening drive passing touchdown to Guerendo and the two interceptions.
In the second half, it was more of the same, as Illinois racked up 163 yards in the third quarter, alone, scoring 17 points.
Devito added his third goal line score of the game and Chase Brown scored on a 49-yard rushing touchdown.
Brown, the nation’s leading rusher finiehd with 129 yards on 25 carries.
Overall in the game, Illinois outgained Wisconsin 307-208, but the place where that discrepancy was the most blarring, was in the rushing yards — Illinois outrushed Wisconsin 140-2.
Braelon Allen, who entered the game as the nation’s fifth leading rusher, ran the ball eight times for two yards.
Bielema, who is Wisconsin’s second all-time in wins with 68, holds a slim 68-67 advantage over Paul Chryst, who would have matched Bielema, had the Badgers won.
Chryst will go for win No. 68 and the Badgers will look to bounce back and win their first conference game of the season, next weekend, as the Badgers will travel to Northwestern.