Recap: Illinois vs. Wisconsin
Champaign, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Melvin Gordon rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns as No. 25 Wisconsin cruised to a 56-25 win over Illinois on Saturday.
Joel Stave was 16-for-21 passing for 189 yards and two touchdowns and James White added 20 carries for 98 yards and two touchdowns and also caught TD for the Badgers (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten), winners in two straight.
"The offense was very powerful tonight. They ran the ball extremely well. I thought they reacted to situations where they got stopped a couple times with positive, good adjustments," said Wisconsin head coach Gary Anderson. "Special teams were solid for the most part. I'm proud of that group of kids. Defensively, we played hard, and we flew around the field, but we're going to have to be better than that on defense.
Wisconsin will have a bye next week before visiting Iowa on Nov. 2.
Nathan Scheelhaase was 20-for-27 passing for 249 yards and rushed for a score for the Fighting Illini (3-3, 0-2), who have dropped three of their last four games.
"They're a good football team and they've got some good football players. When you're playing a team like that, you have to be clicking on all cylinders. Defensively, we didn't tackle well in space," said Illinois head coach Tim Beckman. "Again, they've got a couple of good backs, there's no question, and they've made people look that way a little bit all year long. But they did some things in space and we've got to do better."
After forcing a punt on the game's opening drive, Wisconsin needed five plays before finding the end zone. On 3rd-and-4 from the Illinois 47, Stave hit Jared Abbrederis for a 17-yard gain. Gordon followed with a 28-yard run down to the 2 before White bulled his way in for the score.
Wisconsin forced a three-and-out on the ensuing drive before scoring six plays later on Gordon's 26-yard touchdown run.
Scheelhaase fumbled on the Illini's first play after the score and Wisconsin took over on 8-yard line. Stave connected with Brian Wozniak on 3rd-and-goal from the 2 to make it a three-score game.
Illinois scored the next 10 points of the game to pull within 21-10.
Taylor Zalewski's 31-yard field goal capped a 14-play, 67-yard drive early in the second quarter.
After forcing a Wisconsin punt, Illinois needed just four plays as Josh Ferguson capped a 57-yard march with a 1-yard TD plunge.
Gordon picked up his second rushing score with 1:55 left in the first half to make it a 28-10 game, but Matt LaCosse hauled in a 1-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Bailey to make it 28-17 at the break.
White's 3-yard touchdown reception 5:05 into the third made it 35-17 before Gordon ripped off a 13-yard rushing score to give the Badgers a 42-17 edge.
Scheelhaase ran it in from one yard out early in the fourth, but White and Corey Clement added late rushing touchdowns to make it a 31-point game.
Spencer Harris caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Reilly O'Toole to account for the final margin.Game Notes
The Badgers picked up their first road win of the season ... Wisconsin reached
the 50-point plateau for the first time since hanging 70 on Nebraska Dec. 1,
2012 ... Illinois has dropped seven straight games to ranked opponents and 16
of their last 17 since beating No. 1 Ohio State on Nov. 10, 2007 ... The
Illini is 0-8 against ranked opponents under coach Tim Beckman.