Did anyone expect anything else?
It was another all-around disappointing performance from the Illini (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) on Saturday against the No. 23 ranked Wisconsin Badgers (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) at Camp Randall. Illinois struggled against a stubborn Wisconsin team, turning the ball over five times, only collecting 300 total yards, and losing by a final score of 49-20.
Freshman MJ Rivers replaced senior AJ Bush midway through the second after Bush started his day just 2-of-8 passing for 10 yards and two interceptions. On Rivers’ first play under center, Reggie Corbin took the ball 80 yards to the house for Illinois’ first score of the day.
Outside of Corbin’s run, it was all Wisconsin, all day long. The Badgers opened the game up with a 75-yard, five-minute scoring drive that was capped off by an Alec Ingold 1-yard touchdown run. After a Bush interception, Wisconsin got on the board just a minute and a half later with an Aron Cruickshank 23-yard end around touchdown score.
Things quieted down again until Bush’s second interception just five minutes into the second quarter. Head coach Lovie Smith had seen enough of his starting quarterback and turned the keys to the offense over to Rivers, who hasn’t played since Week Four against Penn State. That’s when senior running back Reggie Corbin broke free for the play of the game, taking the ball 80 yards for the score.
Wisconsin would score twice more before half with two touchdown passes from quarterback Alex Hornibrook who finished his day 13-of-22 with 188 yards passing and three touchdowns.
A Stanley Green interception just before halftime would set up a 52-yard field goal from Chase McLaughlin as time expired.
The second half was much of the same for both teams. Illinois found the endzone thanks to an 18-yard touchdown run from sophomore Ra’Von Bonner, and McLaughlin tacked on another field goal, but the Badgers continued to dominate.
Running back Taiwan Deal broke loose for two touchdowns, one in the middle of the third quarter and another halfway through the fourth. Hornibrook also added another touchdown pass to Ingold from 19 yards out with just a few minutes remaining in the third.
Corbin's 80-yard TD is Illinois' longest since Rashard Mendenhall's 86-yard run at Northwestern 11/18/2006.— Illini Stats & Notes (@IlliniStats) October 20, 2018
Most 50+-yard field goals in a career in Illinois history— Illini Stats & Notes (@IlliniStats) October 20, 2018
5 Chase McLaughlin (2014-present)
4 Jason Reda (2004-07)
4 Dan Beaver (1973-76)
3 Taylor Zalewski (2012-15)
3 Chris White (1983-85)
3 Mike Bass (1980-82)
Illinois travels to Maryland (4-3, 2-2) next Saturday to face the Terrapins. This is the first ever meeting between the two teams.
Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 pm C.T., and you can catch the game on Big Ten Network.