Five Takeaways From Wisconsin’s 49-20 Win Over Illinois

Five Takeaways From Wisconsin’s 49-20 Win Over Illinois

Football

Five Takeaways From Wisconsin’s 49-20 Win Over Illinois

1, Taking Momentum Away

After creating only nine turnovers in the first six games, Wisconsin took advantage by generating five in the first half Saturday. Inside linebacker TJ Edwards picked off quarterback AJ Bush on Illinois’ first drive, which resulted in Aron Cruickshank’s first college touchdown two plays later and a 14-0 lead. UW recovered a pair of fumbles, reserve safety Evan Bondoc netted his first collegiate interception and defensive tackle Olive Sagapolu notched his first career interception late in the second quarter. Three of those turnovers generated 21 points for Wisconsin, just enough to beat Illinois on its own.

2, Solid Secondary

Although the Badgers were decimated in the secondary with injuries Saturday (starters D’Cota Dixon and Scott Nelson didn’t suit up, neither did reserve Reggie Pearson), the next-man-up mentality of defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard’s defense showed its toughness. Wisconsin’s secondary came up with three interceptions that were pivotal in halting Illinois drives. In addition to his interception, Bondoc had five tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble in his first collegiate start.

3, Badger-like Running Game

Going against a leaky run defense that gives up over 200 yards per game on the ground, Wisconsin had plenty of success running the ball. Three different players found the end zone on the ground and UW churned out 357 yards, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Jonathan Taylor went 7-for-7 rushing over 100 yards, finishing with 159 yards on 27 carries. The last regular season game Taylor didn’t break 100 yards was October 28 when he left UW’s road game at Illinois with an injury. Taiwan Deal also had a nice game with 111 yards and two scores, cementing himself as UW’s solid No.2 tailback.

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