p>Illinois took down the No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers with a last-second field goal. The upset could be slated as the biggest upset so far in the 2019 college football season. The Fighting Illini did give up over 400 yards of offense, but they won the turnover battle. An interception by the Badgers with two and a half minutes left set up the game-winning 39-yard field goal for Illinois kicker James McCourt. Illinois scored off of all three turnovers committed by Wisconsin. The last drive for the Badgers was a questionable one. Their Heisman candidate Jonathan Taylor only seen one carry on the drive that should have been a clock-eating drive.
Defensively, Wisconsin looked good, but they were hindered by the field position of the turnovers. They held Illinois to just 315 total yards of offense. Brandon Peters struggled for the Fighting Illini by going 9-for-22 through the air for 174 yards. But he did make some critical plays when it mattered and threw two touchdown passes. The running game for Illinois fared better than other teams. Reggie Corbin led the way with 83 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown. Dre Brown added 70 yards to the cause and ran for an outstanding 6.4 yards-per-carry. With just nine completed passes, the Fighting Illini receivers made the most of them. Donny Navarro had a 48-yard touchdown reception and Josh Imatorbhebhe had a 29-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter to put Illinois back into the game.
Illinois played well defensively with Dale Harding leading the way with 16 total tackles. Jake Hansen, Sydney Brown, and Nate Hobbs also had double-digit tackles. Olewole Betiku Jr. had the interception had led to the game-winning field goal. The defense also held the Badgers to their second-lowest offensive totals on the season to date.
Taylor led the Badgers in rushing with 132 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown. Jack Coan 24-for-32 for 264 yards and a touchdown in the passing attack. Jake Ferguson caught that touchdown and had five receptions for 77 yards. Both Quintez Cephus and Danny Davis III had five catches each as well. Garrett Groshek had six receptions, but could only get 40 yards total on them. Chris Orr came up huge on defense, leading the Badgers with 9 total tackles and three sacks. Wisconsin got to the quarterback four times today and had seven tackles for a loss.
The turnovers were the sole reason why Wisconsin lost today. Illinois couldn’t get anything going on offense and went a putrid 2-for-10 on third-down conversions. With the good field position off the turnovers, the Fighting Illini were able to stay in the game and ultimately pulling off the upset. It was their first win in the Big Ten Conference and they are now 3-4 on the season. They’ll head to Purdue next week in hopes of building upon this victory.
Any hopes of Wisconsin making the college football playoffs this season suffered a horrific blow today. While they are capable of running the table and finishing the season strong, questions are coming up on whether they have the ability to win out and make the playoffs. The Badgers will try to rebound from their first loss this season against the dominant Ohio State Buckeyes next week. That game could determine the fate of the Badgers and where they wind up in the postseason.