Scores

Final

Illinois 17

(4-4, 2-3 Big Ten)

Wisconsin 27

(4-4, 1-4 Big Ten)

Coverage: ESPN2

12:00 PM ET, October 25, 2008

Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI

1 2 3 4 T
ILL 0 10 7 017
WIS 3 7 7 1027

Top Performers

Passing: D. Sherer (WIS) - 174 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: J. Clay (WIS) - 25 CAR, 88 YDS

Receiving: D. Gilreath (WIS) - 3 REC, 71 YDS, 2 TD

Sherer-led Wisconsin tops Illinois for first Big Ten win

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. -- Dustin Sherer threw two touchdowns to David Gilreath and ran for another, rallying Wisconsin over Illinois 27-17 on Saturday and snapping the Badgers' longest losing streak in 12 years.

Wisconsin (4-4, 1-4 Big Ten) finally got its first conference win with a solid effort defensively too, intercepting Juice Williams three times, including two long returns that set up points as Illinois (4-4, 2-3) squandered its chance to give coach Ron Zook his first win here.

It's been a week of worry around the Wisconsin program that included several empty bleachers in the normally jammed student section, and after the first drive of the second half, it looked like those fears were justified.

Linebacker Jaevery McFadden slumped over in disbelief when A.J. Jenkins caught a 27-yard pass and cornerback Niles Brinkley shrugged his shoulders moments later when Jenkins wasn't covered on a 14-yard TD throw from Williams that gave Illinois a 17-10 lead.

But Wisconsin came back because of Gilreath's effort.

Gilreath took a short toss over the middle on third-and-17 and evaded four would-be tacklers on a 49-yard reception to make it 17-all and give Sherer, the junior who took over as the starter last week for similarly erratic senior Allan Evridge, his first career TD pass.

On the next possession, Brinkley intercepted Williams when the ball tipped off a receiver's hand and Brinkley's 47-yard return set up a 38-yard field goal by Philip Welch to give Wisconsin a 20-17 lead with 12:11 left.

Wisconsin's defense then made a stop and Sherer found favorite target Garrett Graham for a 45-yard gain. Sherer, who finished 12-for-22 for 174 yards, capped the 10-play drive by rolling right and throwing behind Gilreath, who slid and made the catch for an 8-yard TD giving Wisconsin a 27-17 lead with 3:28 left.

Williams' interceptions killed the Illini momentum and gave Wisconsin much needed confidence with a struggling offense that didn't start running back P.J. Hill, hasn't had a 100-yard rusher in five weeks and may have lost its biggest playmaker in Travis Beckum.

Beckum, who skipped a chance at the NFL to return for his senior season, made two catches for 16 yards, dropped another and injured his left ankle blocking in the third quarter was taken to the locker room and did not return.

Williams just wasn't as dynamic as he'd been in the previous three weeks when he averaged more than 411 yards of total offense. He failed to find space to scramble or open receivers quick enough and finished 17-for-32 for 221 yards, also throwing a 2-yard TD pass to Zach Becker early in the second quarter to give Illinois a 7-3 lead.

But that would be the only consistent drive the Illini would put together in the first half.

Sherer answered by getting to the end zone on a 15-yard scramble to give Wisconsin a 10-7 lead after the Badgers scored first on Welch's 40-yard field goal following Chris Maragos' 51-yard interception return.

Matt Eller's 47-yard field goal made it 10-10 at halftime.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
ILL
WIS
1st Downs1514
Total Yards309337
Passing221174
Rushing88163
Penalties8-476-59
3rd Down Conversions6-136-16
4th Down Conversions0-10-1
Turnovers31
Possession27:0532:55

Passing Leaders

IllinoisC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Williams17/322216.923
WisconsinC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Sherer12/221747.920

Rushing Leaders

IllinoisCARYDSAVGTDLG
Ford12473.9013
Dufrene7304.308
WisconsinCARYDSAVGTDLG
Clay25883.5014
Sherer9404.4130

Receiving Leaders

IllinoisRECYDSAVGTDLG
Jenkins36120.3127
Benn24723.5037
WisconsinRECYDSAVGTDLG
Graham67913.2045
Gilreath37123.7249

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERILLWIS
FG08:36Philip Welch 40 Yd 03
SECOND QUARTERILLWIS
TD14:55Zach Becker 2 Yd Pass From Juice Williams (Matt Eller Kick) 73
TD03:25Dustin Sherer 15 Yd Run (Philip Welch Kick) 710
FG01:19Matt Eller 47 Yd 1010
THIRD QUARTERILLWIS
TD10:59A.J. Jenkins 14 Yd Pass From Juice Williams (Matt Eller Kick) 1710
TD07:26David Gilreath 49 Yd Pass From Dustin Sherer (Philip Welch Kick) 1717
FOURTH QUARTERILLWIS
FG12:11Philip Welch 38 Yd 1720
TD03:48David Gilreath 8 Yd Pass From Dustin Sherer (Philip Welch Kick) 1727