Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Montee Ball took some time to get going, but he ended up scoring a pair of touchdowns as the Badgers defeated the Illini 31-14.
Wisconsin defeated Illinois 31-14 on the back of Montee Ball and the running game. The Illini held Ball to just 12 yards in the first half, but he ran for 95 yards and a pair of scores in the second half as Wisconsin pulled away.
Illinois opened the scoring in the second quarter with a 5-yard Nathan Scheelhaase run. The score was set up by a Tyrell Goodman interception that gave Illinois the ball deep in Wisconsin territory. The Badgers answered before the end of the half when Joel Stave found James White for a 62-yard touchdown strike.
Wisconsin took the lead with a 46-yard field goal midway through the third quarter, and they took control of the game with a pair of touchdowns early in the fourth. Montee Ball ran in the first of those from 9 yards out, and Stave hit Jared Abbrederis for 59 yards to make it 24-7 after three.
Illinois would cut the lead to 10 when Scheelhaase found Ryan Lankford, leaving Wisconsin leading 24-14. Wisconsin pushed the lead back to 17 when Ball rushed for the final score of the game with just over three minutes remaining.
The win improves Wisconsin to 4-2 on the season, while dropping the Illini to 2-4.
Box Score Hero: Montee Ball ran for 115 yards on Saturday, and his two touchdowns in the fourth quarter put him at 69 for his career.
Rankings Ramifications: Wisconsin might receive a few votes after improving to 4-2, but it's unlikely they'll crack the Top 25 this week.
But Did They Cover? Wisconsin were 14.5-point favorites, so they covered the spread with the 17-point win. The over/under was set at 45 points, which is exactly what the two teams combined for.
Next Week's Schedule: The Illini will be in action again Oct. 13 when they hit the road to face the Michigan Wolverines. The Badgers will also be in action next Saturday when they travel to Purdue.