Halftime Analysis: No.23 Wisconsin 28, Illinois 10

Halftime Analysis: No.23 Wisconsin 28, Illinois 10

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Halftime Analysis: No.23 Wisconsin 28, Illinois 10

MADISON, Wis. – Whether it be rain, sleet or snow, Wisconsin’s running game is functioning quite well.

A crazy first half of weather saw Wisconsin stick to its roots offensively, as the Badgers punched in two touchdowns on the ground and two in the air to take a 28-10 lead over Illinois at Camp Randall Stadium Saturday.

Fullback Alec Ingold scored from 1-yard out on the game’s first drive, receiver Aron Cruickshank scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 23-yard jet sweep and Jonathan Taylor rushed for 71 yards, as the Badgers churned out 143 yards on the ground in the first half.

Wisconsin’s defense – which was ripped to shreds by then-No.12 Michigan last week – again is playing shorthanded. Starting safeties D’Cota Dixon and Scott Nelson and reserve safety Reggie Pearson didn’t dress, so senior Evan Bondoc and sophomore Eric Burrell were given the start.

Both responded, as Bondoc delivered three tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, forced a fumble and registered his first collegiate interception midway through the second quarter. Burrell delivered three tackles, a quarterback hurry and a forced fumble.

Illinois finished with only 177 yards of offense, 80 of which came on Reggie Corbin’s cutback run for the Illini’s only touchdown late in the second quarter. Wisconsin ended five of Illinois’ drives with turnovers, including T.J. Edwards picking off quarterback A.J. Bush on Illinois’ first drive, Olive Sagapolu scoring his first career interception and he batted a pass attempt high in the air and Rachad Wildgoose scooping up a fumble in 35.

Those three turnovers led to Wisconsin touchdowns within a minute.

The only real negative for Wisconsin in the first half came in the closing minute, as quarterback Alex Hornibrook telegraphed another interception. This time the throw went to free safety Stanley Green, who returned it 49 yards to set up a 52-yard field goal at the buzzer.

The game kicked off in cloudy, chilly temperature with the wind gusting at times up to 35 miles per hours. Shortly after Cruickshank scored, the snow came and turned the seating bowl into snow globe. By the time the teams headed to the locker room, nearly all the snow on the turf melted, the wind began to die down and the sun began to poke out.

The Illini will start the second half with the ball.

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