The Illinois Fighting Illini stunned the Wisconsin Badgers this afternoon at Memorial Stadium, getting a 39-yard field goal from James McCourt as time expired to hand the Badgers their first loss of the season.
Sophomore tight end Jake Ferguson had his best game of the season. Ferguson had five catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. Four of his five receptions were on third down and all five catches went for first downs or a touchdown.
Wisconsin’s defense gave up way too many big plays, but Chris Orr played a great game. Orr had nine tackles and three sacks, putting him at eight sacks on the season and all of them have come in the last four games.
Chris Orr after the game said “disappointment. Just disappointment. No other emotion to be honest. Disappointment.”
When asked why, he responded “the way we didn’t execute. They just out executed us. We had a good game plan. Felt good going into the game. Just didn’t execute. That’s a pretty good team over there. They had good players. They just out-played us out there.”
Kicker Collin Larsh had a career-high three field goals but was lamenting on a fourth one that he missed that contributed to the loss:
“That’s my job to make that kick. I shoulder most of that responsibility because I left three out there. We lose that game by one point. That’s on me. You can’t take any less responsibility. That’s my job. That’s why I’m out there. I was trusted to make the kick and I didn’t.”
Ultimately, the three turnovers that Wisconsin had that led to 17 Illini points is what hurt the most. The one that seemed to hurt the most was when UW was driving leading 23-14 with just under six minutes remaining and Jonathan Taylor fumbled at the Illini 16-yard line and Illinois quickly made it a 23-21 game.
Wisconsin (6-1, 3-1) will look to bounce back next week as they head to Columbus to take on Ohio State (7-0, 4-0). Kickoff is set for 11:00 AM (CT).