CHAMPAIGN, ILL. – No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers (6-1, 3-1 B1G) dropped its first game of the season to the Illinois Fighting Illini (3-4, 1-3 B1G), 24-23 on a last-second field goal by kicker James McCourt.
Wisconsin, who was playing in only its second road game of the season, had a chance to secure a win, but turned the ball over on a Jack Coan interception with 2:32 remaining.
Jonathan Taylor, who came into the game needing just four yards to reach the career milestone of 5,000 rushing yards, reached it on the opening play of the game, with a 16-yard run.
Wisconsin scored on its opening drive for the sixth time in seven games this season, when Jack Coan found Jake Ferguson on an 18-yard touchdown pass, Ferguson’s second of the season.
Wisconsin’s opening drive went 11 plays, 75 yards and covered 5:45.
The Badgers then added their second score of the game, following an 11-play, 72-yard drive that covered 6:11. Collin Larsh capped off the drive, with a 24-yard field goal.
With just under six minutes remaining in the second quarter, Illinois quarterback,Brandon Peters connected with Donny Navarro for a 48-yard touchdown completion, which was the first touchdown Wisconsin has allowed in the first half this season.
Following Larsh’s second field goal of the game, a 44-yard kick, a career long, Illinois completed a 73-yard catch and run for a score, which would have been the first time this season that Wisconsin has trailed, but the long scoring play was called back, as the Illini center strayed too far up field, prior to the ball being thrown.
After Wisconsin forced its 15th takeaway of the season, a fumble on the Illinois 16-yard line, Taylor scored his first touchdown of the game, a 5-yard rush. This was Taylor’s 15th rushing touchdown of the season and his 19th touchdown, overall.
With under a minute left in the third quarter, Illinois running back Reggie Corbin added a rushing touchdown of his own, a 43-yard score, which was the longest rush the Wisconsin defense has allowed all season.
On Wisconsin’s next drive, Coan threw his second interception of the season, giving Illinois favorable field position at their own 47. Coan was trying to find Ferguson on the same route the two had connected on multiple times previously in the game, but Tony Adams was there to intercept the pass.
Illinois then went on a 9-play, 32 yard drive, capped off by McCourt’s 39-yard, game-winning field goal.
The Badgers travel to Columbus, Ohio next weekend to take on the impervious looking Ohio State Buckeyes at 11 a.m. CT on FOX.
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