With the help of some passionate college football fans in the world of the internet, TCR will be simulating every Illinois football game this season using EA Sports' NCAA Football '14. We've downloaded updated rosters and the team depth charts will be changed on a week-by-week basis to reflect what we'll see on the field. We'll also check the weather forecast to mirror the expected conditions at kickoff.
Last season, our simulations predicted the correct outcome 70% of the time.
This season, our simulation is a perfect (6-0).
Week 7: Illinois Fighting Illini (4-2) vs Wisconsin Badgers (5-2)
Coming off the bye week, Illinois is looking to return to the win column during conference play. As banged up and bruised as they are, they were able to compete against the Iowa Hawkeyes two weeks ago. With the absence of Josh Ferguson and Marchie Murdock this week, how was Illinois able to move the ball against a stout Wisconsin defense?
First, let's see how both teams are rated:
Illinois Fighting Illini
- Overall: 79
- Offense: 83
- Defense: 78
- Overall: 88
- Offense: 88
- Defense: 88
The Illini would find themselves trailing early, as Wes Lunt would throw 2 interceptions in the first 2 possessions of the game. This lead to a field goal from Rafael Gaglianone and a 6 yard touchdown pass from Joel Stave to Alex Erickson. Taylor Zalewski tacked on a 31 yard field goal to cut the Badger lead to 10-3 at the end of the first quarter, but Gaglianone would counter that with a 31 yarder of his own to start the second. After Zalewski added a 21 yard field goal to cut the lead to 13-6, Geronimo Allison would haul in an 18 yard pass from Wes Lunt to tie the game at halftime.
In the second half, Wisconsin's rushing offense came to life when Dare Ogunbowale took a 21 yard run to the house. Wisconsin's lead would not last though, as another Zalewski field goal and an Ainslie Johnson touchdown reception would put the Illini ahead late in the 3rd quarter. The turnover bug found the Illini again however, and Derek Watt would score from inside a yard to give the Badgers a 27-23 after 3 quarters.
Lunt and the Illini went back to work in the 4th quarter, finding Allison 3 plays in a row including an 8 yard touchdown reception for his second score of the day. Lunt would continue his success in the redzone with a touchdown pass to Dionte Taylor, and Illinois jumped out to a 10 point lead. Tanner McEvoy and Joel Stave would connect on a 19 yard touchdown pass to keep the Badgers in it, but Ke'Shawn Vaughn and the Illini rush offense would seal the deal late.
Final Score: Illinois 44, Wisconsin 34
Here is the scoring summary and team stats for the game: