The Wisconsin Badgers have suffered yet another crushing, deflating loss this season, falling to the Illinois Fighting Illini in a 34-10 rout at Camp Randall. It was a return to Madison for former Badgers head coach Bret Bielema.
Coming off another blowout loss last week against Ohio State, Wisconsin was looking to bounce back against their neighbors to the south but were unable to get the ground game going. The Badgers finished with just 2 total yards on the ground on 24 attempts. Braelon Allen got just eight carries for two yards. Chez Mellusi was the leading rusher with seven carries for 16 yards. Their longest carry of the day went for just five yards.
Through the air, Graham Mertz started out hot, completing each of his first four passes on the opening drive, including a touchdown pass to Isaac Guerendo to take an early 7-0 lead.
Illinois answered back though after a Mertz interception, scoring a touchdown after the Illini got a fresh set of downs following a pass interference call in the endzone on Badgers CB Jay Shaw. Wisconsin came back with a field goal on their next drive for a 10-7 lead. After that, it was all Illinois.
Another Mertz interception led to an Illinois touchdown for a 14-10 deficit that was taken to the half. Then to start the second half, Illinois went down and scored a touchdown on a 10 play drive for a 21-10 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Isaac Guerendo fumbled, giving Illinois the ball again, which led to a field goal and ensured momentum stayed on the Illinois side. They would add another touchdown and field goal and take a final 34-10 lead over Wisconsin.
It's a tough loss to swallow for Wisconsin. Mertz finished completing 17 of 32 passes for 206 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
Wisconsin falls to 2-3 on the season and 0-2 in Big Ten play. Next up is a trip to Northwestern next Saturday where they'll look to get their first win of conference play.