Wisconsin football: Handing out game balls from win over Illinois

The Wisconsin football team banded together and got things back on track with a convincing 24-0 win over Illinois on Saturday.

The badgers thoroughly dominated this game, and showed glimpses of the team many believed them to be entering the season. Above all else, the team played the game their way and stayed together.

Wisconsin controlled the time of possession to the tune of 42:43 to 17:17 and ran for 391 yards on the ground. And if that isn’t impressive enough they out-gained Illinois 491-93 in total yards on the road.

So, with that in mind – it’s time to hand out game balls for both offense and defense.

Wisconsin football games balls: Offense, Chez Mellusi and Braelon Allen

Look out badger fans, Wisconsin may have finally found their backfield pairing in Chez Mellusi and Braelon Allen. This was the first time since 2018 that Wisconsin had two running backs eclipse 100-yards rushing – a feat they would accomplish by the third quarter.

It was a season-high 391 rushing yards for the badgers and the tandem of Mellusi and Allen are the reason why. I’d expect to see a lot more of the smash and dash combo moving forward.

Chez Mellusi  – 21 carries for 145 yards and a touchdown (6.9 YPC)

Braelon Allen – 18 carries for 131 yards and a touchdown (7.3 YPC)

Wisconsin football games balls: Defense, Jim Leonhard

It would be difficult to select one player from the defensive unit given they only allowed 93 yards of total offense. This defensive unit is truly special and seems to be firing on all cylinders. Jim Leonhard’s defense was only on the field for 47 plays on Saturday – which is staggeringly dominant.

Wisconsin only allowed 26 yards rushing and forced the Illini into 23 in-completions on 34 pass attempts.

Jim Leonhard’s defense is currently ranked 2nd in the country in YPG (217.8) and yards per play (3.9) only trailing Georgia. They also have the nation’s top-ranked rush defense, only allowing 41.4 yards per game – (1.66 yards per rush allowed).

The only negative from the defensive side of the ball would be that they allowed more penalty yards (101) than total yards allowed (93). Over half of the Illini first downs came by way of Wisconsin penalties.