Wisconsin football dominated Illinois, even when it looked like it could go south.
The gameday forecast was chilly and gusty, then quickly turned to borderline blizzard conditions before finally clearing up. Wisconsin football used the poor weather conditions to force some turnovers and preserve its early lead over Illinois. Luckily for the Badgers, those poor conditions didn’t have too much of a negative effect on them en route to a 49-20 win.
Wisconsin’s defense forced five turnovers on the day and capitalized on several with scores. But Alex Hornibrook and the offense returned the favor, resulting in points against. Hornibrook threw two interceptions. One was a terrible miss to A.J. Taylor right before the half, the other was batted in the air at the line of scrimmage early in the second half.
We saw the best and worst of Hornibrook in this game. He made some great throws, including a touchdown to Jake Ferguson, some bad ones, some awful ones, and some textbook ones. Against any other team besides Illinois, it might not have been good enough.
The defense came alive today. Outside of the turnovers, the defense was all over Illinois forcing tackles for loss and sacks all day. Regardless of the opponent, that’s a welcomed sight. With all the injuries this defense has suffered you can’t take anything away from a positive performance like this.
The running game was the story of the day for the Badgers. Jonathan Taylor eclipsed 100 yards again, finishing with 159. Taiwan Deal did as well running for 111 yards and two touchdowns, and Alec Ingold found the end zone twice.
All things considered, this is what Wisconsin had to do today as a team. We had a feeling the defense and running game would dominate over the course of four quarters and they did. But the quarterback play continues to be a question mark moving forward. I appreciated the confidence from Paul Chryst in his quarterback, but the early shots down the field weren’t necessary for this game.
Wisconsin goes to Northwestern next week to face a team that struggled with Rutgers, though Pat Fitzgerald will likely have his team more prepared for the Badgers.