MADISON, Wis. – The Big Ten West continues to be kind to the University of Wisconsin.
Going 75 yards in 11 plays on its opening drive, No.23 Wisconsin never looked back in a wire-to-wire 49-20 victory over Illinois Saturday during its annual Homecoming game at Camp Randall Stadium.
Five different players scored touchdowns for Wisconsin (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten), while tailback Taiwan Deal rushed for two scores and fullback Alec Ingold scored one running and one receiving to help the Badgers put up 545 yards of total offense.
Tailback Jonathan Taylor delivered another non-descript beauty, rushing for 159 yards while quarterback Alex Hornibrook’s two first-half touchdown passes helped even out his two interceptions as the game progressed.
Going against a UW defense that was without three safeties, Illinois (3-4, 1-3) couldn’t get out of its own way. Quarterback A.J. Bush threw an interception to inside linebacker T.J. Edwards on his opening series, leading to an Aron Cruickshank rushing touchdown two plays later. Bush was also picked off by senior Evan Bondoc, getting a chance for meaningful reps because of the injuries in front of him.
Freshmen Rachad Wildgoose and Jack Sanborn each recovered a fumble and senior defensive tackle Olive Sagapolu recovered his own interception off a ball his swatted into the air, as the Badgers forced five turnovers that led to 21 points.
It was the 16th straight victory in Big Ten West Division play for the Badgers, improving their record to 24-3 (.889) since the league moved to its current division setup in 2014.
Wisconsin returns to the road next weekend for a pivotal divisional showdown at first-place Northwestern. The game will kick off at 11 a.m.