Play of the game
Trailing 10-7 in the final minute of the third quarter, Illinois, facing fourth and 6 from its own 49 lined up to punt in an attempt to pin Wisconsin deep in its own territory. Punter Justin DuVernois uncorked a 10-yard shank and the Badgers took over at their own 51. Montee Ball scored a touchdown seven plays later to give the home team a 10-point lead and all the momentum.
Numbers game: 284
That’s how many yards the Illini racked up Saturday against a Badgers defense that was allowing an average of 348.8 per game entering the day. It’s the fewest yards Wisconsin has allowed in a game this season. The previous low was 306 that FCS opponent Northern Iowa managed in the season opener.
What it means
The rest of the games from here on in for the Illini will more than likely be for pride and not for the right to earn a berth in a bowl game for the third consecutive season. Unless the Illini can go on a run and pull some upsets, that Nov. 24 game at Northwestern, or as Tim Beckman calls it “The school upstate,” will be the last time the Illini put on the pads this season.
A trip to the Big House to face a Michigan team that will be confident after a convincing win against a Purdue squad some had pegged to represent the Leaders Division in Indianapolis on Dec. 1. Denard Robinson & Co. will be itching for a chance to take it to a wounded Illinois team in front of 100,000-plus.