Welcome to the TCR GameThread! The Fighting Illini take on the Wisconsin Badgers this afternoon, and Steve Bourbon (@steve_bourbon) will be covering the action for us. Make sure to refresh this page throughout the game for updates and analysis on the Orange and Blue.
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We'll have a recap up shortly after the game concludes; all post-game discussion should take place there. Go Illini!
Another start for Jeff George Jr. in a hostile environment. The redshirt freshman will be making his fourth start, but he'll experience two of the top environments in the nation after playing Michigan at the Big House, and now Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium. I really like George Jr's willingness to push the ball down the field, and he made some great throws and some not-so-great throws -- exactly what you would expect from a freshman playing for the first few games of his career. I'd like to see him get his completion percentage up -- he's at 42.3 percent for the season -- and avoid some big hits by getting the ball out faster. Facing Wisconsin is always a challenge because they can run the ball with impunity in order to wear down the defense. Let's just not get blown out and keep the good vibes going after a win over Michigan State.
11:43 1st Quarter: Luxury of this Illinois defense: Wisconsin rolls the pocket to avoid a rush from Dawuane Smoot, but runs right into Carroll Phillips on the other side. Illinois forces a punt but the Illini will be backed up inside its own 10-yard line.
11:14 1st Quarter: Three plays, three passes, zero completions for Illinois. Good punt from Frain but Illinois was so backed up that Wisconsin takes over at midfield.
9:23 1st Quarter: Wisconsin strikes first behind a short run from Corey Clement. Badgers cover 51 yards in just four plays to take an early lead.
Wisconsin 7, Illinois 0
7:43 1st Quarter: Desmond Cain hauls in a one-handed catch down the sidelines for a huge gain, but it's negated by a chop block penalty. Two plays later, George Jr. air mails a receiver and throws an interception, which is returned inside the Illinois 10-yard line. This could escalate quickly.
6:59 1st Quarter: What else is new, a Wisconsin running back having a stellar day against Illinois. Clement records his second rushing touchdown of the day and we're barely halfway through the first quarter.
Wisconsin 14, Illinois 0
3:22 1st Quarter: Nice response by the Illini, headlined by a pair of long runs by Foster and Corbin. Illinois is unable to punch it in the end zone, but Chase McLoughlin knocks in a field goal to get Illinois on the board.
Wisconsin 14, Illinois 3
Poor angles taken by #Illini defense on long run by Ogunbowale— Matt Daniels (@mdaniels_NG) November 12, 2016
0:13 1st Quarter: Dare Ogunbowale rips off a 48-yard run to move the ball deep into Illinois territory and Hornibrook caps off the drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass. Pretty flawless quarter for the Badgers offense.
Wisconsin 21, Illinois 3
0:06 1st Quarter: George Jr. avoids the pass rush but throws the ball right to a Wisconsin defender for his second pick of the day.
END OF 1ST QUARTER: Wisconsin 21, Illinois 3
12:24 1st Quarter: Another touchdown for the Badgers, this time on a play action pass to the fullback. Wisconsin already with 141 yards rushing.
Wisconsin 28, Illinois 3
And here we observe a bit of a coverage issue during Wisconsin's fourth TD pic.twitter.com/f1sWcXF3l3— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) November 12, 2016
9:07 2nd Quarter: McLaughlin pushes a field goal wide right, and a long completion to Hardee leads to zero points. George continues to try to push the ball down the field.
4:45 2nd Quarter: Wisconsin converts a fake punt while up 25 points, but the Badgers eventually boot it away. Rare stop for the Illinois defense.
1:26 2nd Quarter: Jeff George Jr. throws another pick when his pass hits a Badger defender in the face, deflects off his foot and is picked by another defender. He's at three interceptions today. Wisconsin can't do anything with it, though, and punt it away.
1:04 2nd Quarter: Check that, four interceptions for George Jr. His moxy and willingness to push the ball has been utter recklessness today, and it's burned Illinois.
HALFTIME: Wisconsin 31, Illinois 3
Halftime stats pic.twitter.com/RkoSce76Ko— Illini Stats & Notes (@IlliniStats) November 12, 2016
13:41 3rd Quarter: So Wes Lunt came into the game for the first drive of the second half. He completed his first pass to Sam Mays for a first down, but Illinois punts. TV broadcast said that Lunt was only going to be used "if absolutely necessary" so it's curious to see him in the game in a blowout like this.
7:10 3rd Quarter: Wisconsin adds another field goal to its lead. We're already in garbage time here as the Badgers wind the clock.
Wisconsin 34, Illinois 3
END OF 3RD QUARTER: Wisconsin 34, Illinois 3
Through 3 pic.twitter.com/MfelYjr0oS— Illini Stats & Notes (@IlliniStats) November 12, 2016
14:18 4th Quarter: Another rushing touchdown for Clement. Badgers starting to mix in some backups on offense.
Wisconsin 41, Illinois 3
5:01 4th Quarter: Illinois can't move the ball, Illinois can't stop the run. Rinse, repeat.
Wisconsin 48, Illinois 3