Every Saturday, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart watches all the Big Ten action and offers his Snap Reactions. Earlier today he offered his thoughts from Michigan State and Penn State’s comeback victories over Indiana and Northwestern, respectively. Here, he looks at Wisconsin’s 31-14 victory over Illinois.
Joel Stave threw two touchdown passes and Wisconsin’s running game showed signs of life as the Badgers defeated Illinois 31-14 on Saturday. Stave threw for 254 yards for the Badgers (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten), who rushed for 173 yards – 96 in the fourth quarter.
Thanks to a mean rushing attack, Michigan now leads 31-10. The Wolverines rushed for 77 yards in the quarter. The Wolverines opened up the lead, 31-10, after marching down the field for an eight-play, 61-yard drive that ended when Brendan Gibbons made a 29-yard field goal. Michigan’s drive was highlighted by Denard Robinson’s 46-yard run. The Wolverines went to the air just one time during that series.
Illinois’ Nathan Scheelhaase led the offense in the third quarter. He threw for 19 yards and ran for 42 yards, but the Fighting Illini now trail 10-7. Wisconsin’s James White ran for 28 yards in the quarter. The Badgers have scored the last 10 points.
In the second quarter, Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson stood out. He threw for 68 yards and one touchdown and ran for 20 yards and one touchdown, and the Wolverines now lead 28-10. The highlight of the quarter, however, came from Raymon Taylor, who picked off a pass and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown to give Michigan a 21-0 lead.
Wisconsin’s James White caught a 62-yard touchdown pass in the quarter, and the two teams are tied 7-7 at the end of the second. Illinois struck first when Nathan Scheelhaase scrambled for a five-yard touchdown run, the final play of a two-play, 28-yard drive. Steve Hull’s interception of a Joel Stave pass set the Fighting Illini up to start the drive.