CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Brian Calhoun doesn't mind the work. He'll stay on the field every play if coach Barry Alvarez asks.
"It just depends on how much they need me to carry the ball," the Wisconsin running back said after rushing for 197 yards on 35 carries to lead the 15th-ranked Badgers to a 41-24 win over Illinois on Saturday. "If they need me to carry 50 times, 45, 40, I'm there to do that."
Calhoun scored five touchdowns, including a 46-yard dash for Wisconsin's final score. He also scored five TDs earlier this season against Bowling Green, tying the school record shared by Billy Marek (1974) and Anthony Davis (2002).
The win ensured Wisconsin (8-1, 5-1) would stay at the top of the Big Ten standings. The Badgers entered the game tied with No. 11 Penn State.
Illinois (2-6, 0-5) lost its sixth straight game despite gaining a season-high 538 yards. Quarterback Tim Brasic was 20-of-39 for a career-high 277 yards and two touchdowns and carried the ball 16 times for 116 yards, also a career high and a school record just a
week after being pulled from the game against Penn State.
"A lot of guys would get into his situation and their confidence would be shot and it would hard to get anything out of them," Illinois coach Ron Zook said. "But he was able to forget it all and I'm proud of him for that."
Brasic led his team in rushing for the third time this season. Freshman receiver Kyle Hudson caught 10 passes for 114 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, and Illinois had its highest output since a 40-19 win over San Jose State on Sept. 10.
"We had some chances today and we made some strides," Brasic said.
But it was Calhoun's day from the opening play. He carried nine times on Wisconsin's first drive for 53 yards, scoring from 6 yards. He had a 2-yard run and two more from 6 yards before the 46-yard run in the fourth quarter
"I think his speed really showed up today," Alvarez said. "A couple of those runs their defense had things cornered, it looked like they had the right leverage. He just outran everybody to the end zone."
Badgers quarterback John Stocco was 14-of-22 for 225 yards and one TD as the Badgers finished with 464 yards.
Wisconsin scored on its first two possessions and threatened to make it a rout early. But the Illini cut the Badgers' lead to 13-10 on Brasic's 5-yard TD pass to Melvin Bryant, which was set up by a 62-yard pass to fullback Jason Davis, and Jason Reda's 23-yard
The Badgers responded with a 51-yard drive leading to Calhoun's second TD of the day and a 20-10 halftime lead. Then Jonathan Casillas blocked a punt early in the third quarter and Calhoun's 6-yard sprint to the corner two plays later put the Badgers up
The Illini cut the Badgers' lead to 10 points twice after that, but Wisconsin responded both times with touchdowns on their next possession. Illinois also had two drives stalled by penalties.
"We had opportunities to stand up and make plays and we just didn't do it," Zook said. "I'm tired of it. I know the coaches are tired of it, and I know a lot of guys in that locker room are tired of it."
Pierre Thomas scored on a 3-yard run in the third quarter for Illinois and finished with 57 yards on eight carries. The Illini had five runs from scrimmage of 20 yards or more.
"Defensively, we gave up way too many big plays," Alvarez said. "I'm just happy to come out with a win and have eight of them right now."
Nike Men's Illinois Fighting Illini Blue/Orange Team Issue Performance PoloShop
Greyson Lambert pass complete to Malcolm Mitchell for 34 yds to the GTech 36 for a 1ST down
Ian Frye 42 yd FG GOOD
J.T. Barrett run for 25 yds to the Mich 44 for a 1ST down
Matt Johns run for 15 yds to the VTech 33 for a 1ST down
Tyler Rouse run for 1 yd for a TD (Tommy Sweeney KICK)
Tyler Bell run for 1 yd for a TD