No. 6 Badgers lose to Illinois, 24-23

Official Twitter account of the University of Wisconsin Football Team.
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WMTV) -- The No. 6 ranked Wisconsin Badgers took a trip to Illinois to take on the Fighting Illini in hopes to improve to a 7-0 record on Saturday. That would not be the case.

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor opened the game with a 16-yard run, pushing him over 5,000 career rushing yards.

Later in the drive, quarterback Jack Coan made a perfect throw to tight end Jake Ferguson over the middle for an 18-yard touchdown. It was an impressive drive to open the game for the Badgers, who took a 7-0 lead against Illinois. Coan completed 4 of his 5 passing attempts for 51 yards.

Once Illinois had the ball, they began a hurry-up offense. It did not prevail as kicker James McCourt missed a 40-yard field goal wide right, keeping Wisconsin in the lead at 7-0.

Wisconsin kicker Collin Larsh showed how it was done, drilling a 24-yard field goal. The Illini had stopped the Badgers in the red zone, not making it easy for the No. 6 team in the nation.

With the ball back in their possession, the Badgers went for it on fourth down. For the first time all season, the Badgers came up short. The squad was 8 for 8 in fourth down attempts up to that point.

Wisconsin's defense then gave up a first-half touchdown for the first time this season. Quarterback Brandon Peters connected with receiver
Donny Navarro for a 48-yard touchdown. The Badgers were clinging to a 10-7 lead.

The Badgers turned their next possession into a 44-yard Larsh field goal to give Wisconsin a 13-7 lead with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. The score would hold going into the half, with Illinois making star Badger Taylor work for everything.

To open the second half, a huge play by Wisconsin's defense ended in a fumble recovery by safety Eric Burrell. This turned to a touchdown by the offense. Taylor found his way in the end zone for a 5-yard rushing score to restore some order. Wisconsin led 20- 7.

Wisconsin linebacker Chris Orr was having himself a game. He lead the team with six tackles and accumulated his third sack once the third quarter was in full swing.

On a later drive, Larsh missed a 37-yard field goal wide right. The 11-play drive ended with no points but ate more than six minutes off the clock.

Illinois would respond mightily, running back Reggie Corbin bursted up the middle for a 43-yard touchdown run to make it a one-possession game again. Wisconsin was up 20-14 late in the third quarter. The Badgers were on their heels with the Illini moving the ball with some big plays.

The Badgers would respond. Wisconsin had the ball at the 2-yard line with their Heisman candidate on the field. They elected to hand off to fullback John Chenal twice and settled for a field goal. Wisconsin was now up 23-14, enough for a two-possession lead.

With 5:53 left in the fourth quarter, Brandon Peters connected with Josh Imatorbhebhe from 29-yards out for the touchdown. The PAT was good, pulling the Illini within two. The Badgers were still up, 23-21.

With 2:32 remaining from Wisconsin's own 45-yard line, Coan's third down pass was intercepted by Tony Adams.

The Illini ran the ball and chewed up clock while the Badgers desperately burned their timeouts. With four seconds remaining, Illinois called a timeout for their kicker James McCourt. McCourt drilled the field goal perfectly through the uprights.

The Badgers lost 24-23, to a team they were favored by 30.