Recap: Wisconsin vs. Illinois
Madison, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - Melvin Gordon erupted for 175 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, as the Wisconsin Badgers ran past Illinois, 38-28, in a Big Ten Conference tilt at Camp Randall Stadium.
Corey Clement also ran for 164 yards and a score for the Badgers (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten), who dropped out of the national rankings following last week's loss to Purdue in their league opener.
Reilly O'Toole got the start under center for the Fighting Illini (3-4, 0-3) and completed 12-of-19 passes for just 96 yards and a pair of touchdowns. With the offense needing a spark in the fourth quarter, O'Toole was replaced by sophomore Aaron Bailey. The team's regular starter, Wes Lunt, is expected to miss four-to-six weeks due to a broken leg suffered last week.
Gordon punctuated Wisconsin's opening drive with a 15-yard touchdown scamper to stake the home team a quick 7-0 lead.
Wisconsin went three-and-out on its next drive, and O'Toole answered on the ensuing series with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Matt LaCosse.
After the Illinois defense forced another three-and-out on the next drive, O'Toole hooked up with Geronimo Allison for a 5-yard touchdown to put the Fighting Illini on top, 14-7, with just over three minutes to play in the opening frame.
However, Wisconsin closed out the half with 17 unanswered points to take a 24-14 lead into the break. Gordon scored on second-quarter runs of six and 30 yards, and he also had a key 46-yard scamper late in the half to set up a 44- yard field goal by Rafael Gaglianone just before intermission.
Gordon's fourth TD came on a one-yard run at the 1:08 mark of the third quarter, which capped a nine-play, 90-yard drive.
The first play of the fourth quarter saw Clement break loose for a 72-yard touchdown burst to stretch the Badgers' lead to 38-14.
But Illinois kept things interesting down the stretch with a pair of four- quarter touchdown drives engineered by Bailey. The dual-threat sophomore scored on a 29-yard scamper with 8:43 to play, then he led a nine-play, 83- yard drive that ended with Donovonn Young's 1-yard TD plunge that trimmed the margin to 38-28 with 2:53 remaining.
The Illini then recovered an on-side kick, but the threat ended when Bailey was intercepted by Peniel Jean in the end zone with just over two minutes left on the clock.
Gordon set a school record by surpassing 1,000 rushing yards in only six games, as the Badgers won for the ninth time in the last 10 meetings with Illinois.Game Notes