CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Wisconsin football team improved to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in Big Ten play with a 24-0 win over Illinois on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. Here are my three quick thoughts on the game:
What a rush
This looked — and felt — more like Wisconsin football.
Check out UW’s first three scoring drives:
18 plays, 67 yards, 9:44.
14, plays, 79 yards, 6:50.
13 plays, 75 yards, 6:22.
The Badgers finished with 391 yards rushing, including 145 from Chez Mellusi and 131 from freshman Braelon Allen. It was the first time UW had two players go for more than 100 yards since Jonathan Taylor (159) and Taiwan Deal (111) did so against Illinois on Oct. 20, 2018.
And yes, a caveat needs to be attached that this big day on the ground came against Illinois. Still, it was finally something to build on for an offense that has struggled this season.
The UW defense finally got to play with a lead for an extended stretch and it was aggressive and dominant.
Illini quarterbacks threw 12 consecutive incompletions at one point.
It’s hard to single out one player in a shutout, so let’s go with an entire group: The linebacker quartet of Nick Herbig, Leo Chenal, Jack Sanborn and Noah Burks wreaked a lot of havoc against the Illini.
Graham Mertz, knocked out of a loss to Michigan last week with a chest injury, played OK.