Welcome to the TCR GameThread! The Fighting Illini welcome the Wisconsin Badgers to Champaign today, and 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.
15:00 - Wisconsin will get the ball to start the game.
13:39 - Good start for the Illini defense to force Wisconsin into a three and out, highlighted by a quarterback hurry from James Crawford on third down to force a punt. Illinois will start near its own 40-yard line.
13:19 - Welp. Jeff George Jr. fires a pair of incomplete passes, then Cam Thomas shuttles in on 3rd and 10, only to immediately throw an interception. The 2-QB system off to a great start today.
11:45 - Neither team looks particularly sharp, as Wisconsin is unable to pick up a first down, then shanks a 15-yard punt from the Illini 34-yard line.
8:12 - Illinois picks up a couple first downs with Thomas in at quarterback, then George Jr. overthrows a wide-open Malik Turner on a deep ball that could've gone for a touchdown. Illinois punts again, at least pinning Wisconsin back inside its own 10-yard line.
6:50 - The Illini defense forced its third straight three-and-out, but Illinois has 12 players on the field on fourth and 4, gifting Wisconsin a free first down. ~sigh~
0:07 - Touchdown Wisconsin. After the incredibly stupid penalty on a punt return, the Badgers drive 95 yards on 15 plays, capped by a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal by fullback Alec Ingold.
That’s called "imposing your will." #Badgers— Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) October 28, 2017
Wisconsin 7, Illinois 0
End of 1st Quarter: Wisconsin 7, Illinois 0
13:34 - Looks like Blake Hayes will be busy today. Illinois can't pick up a first down, and the freshman blasts a punt into the wind. Tack on a holding penalty and Wisconsin is pinned back to start this drive.
10:37 - The Badgers were on the move with the running game but Alex Hornibrook fires a pass directly to Bennett Williams for an interception! The freshman returns the ball 21 yards and Illinois' defense gets a big stop.
10:20 - Two incompletions, then a sack-fumble and Wisconsin has the ball back. George Jr. had no pocket presence and didn't feel the pass rush coming around the edge.
9:43 - Reserve James Knight has been ejected for targeting after a late hit on a completion over the middle. Badgers threatening.
7:07 - Touchdown, Wisconsin. Badgers use a big-gainer in the passing game, and then power the ball the rest of the way to take a two-touchdown lead. Badgers have 125 rushing yards and counting already.
WR Mike Dudek has caught a pass in all 20 games in his career.— Illini Stats & Notes (@IlliniStats) October 28, 2017
6:25 - Illini passing game shows a pulse. A pair of play-actions passes to Louis Dorsey and Mike Dudek net 30 yards. The completion to Dudek is under review, as he made an acrobatic catch falling along the sideline.
0:39 - Illinois gets on the board via a short Chase McLaughlin field goal. Some good, some bad that drive. Dudek hauled in three catches, but was injured on the final reception. George Jr. fumbled again on a sack in the red zone, but Illinois recovered.
Wisconsin 14, Illinois 3
0:02 - Badgers move the ball at will and will get a chance to make up those three points just before halftime. Setting up for a 51-yarder as Lovie burns all his timeouts to ice the kicker.
Halftime. pic.twitter.com/11S8eXtA7y— Illini Stats & Notes (@IlliniStats) October 28, 2017
Halftime: Wisconsin 17, Illinois 3
13:38 - Kendrick Foster got the Illini started with a 15-yard run on the first play of the half, but the drive stalls out from there. George Jr. nearly found Ricky Smalling (who is without a catch today) on 3rd and 14, though a nice play from the Wisconsin defense forced an incompletion.
9:04 - Wisconsin's drive stalls out thanks to a Tymir Oliver sack, despite a pretty obvious uncalled holding penalty on the Badgers. Also noteworthy, starting running back Jonathan Taylor is questionable to return with an ankle injury.
Very nice pic.twitter.com/oOPoDQsDt7— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) October 28, 2017
5:26 - Illinois' drive goes nowhere. The injury bug hits Illinois as well, as Mike Dudek will not return to today's game and Ricky Smalling is headed to the locker room.
2:39 - The Illini defense stands tall once again getting another stop. If only this Illinois offense could score...
End of 3rd quarter: Wisconsin 17, Illinois 3
George-to-Malik Turner! pic.twitter.com/t4KcuOOsZy— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) October 28, 2017
14:12 - Questionable decision from Lovie to kick a 48-yard field goal into the wind while chasing 14 points in the fourth quarter. McLaughlin misses wide right (and short) and Wisconsin is set up with good field position.
9:14 - Illinois' best drive of the day is ended with another Thomas interception. He got away with a poor pass into coverage earlier in the drive, but this ball was floated in the air to no one in particular and the Badgers come away with an easy pick.
3:54 - Wisconsin puts this one to bed with a touchdown pass to the tackle eligible player on a throwback screen inside the 5-yard line. A good effort from the Illinois defense today, just got no help from the offense.
Wisconsin 24, Illinois 3
0:49 - A garbage time touchdown for Kendrick Foster makes this closer than it should be. It's also the first touchdown for an Illinois non-freshman since the South Florida game.
Wisconsin 24, Illinois 10
FINAL: Wisconsin 24, Illinois 10