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Around the Big Ten: Wisconsin at Illinois Recap

Mellusi and Allen lead Wisconsin to blowout win over Illinois.

Coming into this game, Illinois (2-5) was looking for their second consecutive win while Wisconsin (2-3) was looking to get back on the track for their season. The Badgers run game would end up being unstoppable as they led the way in a 24-0 Wisconsin victory. 

The first half of this game was the true definition of a Big Ten football game. Wisconsin got on the board first as they marched down the field, going 67 yards in 18 plays, on a possession that lasted nearly ten minutes before they were ultimately stopped and forced to settle for a field goal to go up 3-0. 

Following the field goal, both offenses would stall until well in the second quarter when Wisconsin put together another lengthy drive. They received an Illinois punt and went 79 yards on 14 plays taking off over five minutes of game clock, resulting in a one-yard touchdown run by fullback John Chenal

That would be all the action offensively in the first half, as Wisconsin would finish the half with 206 total yards of offense, 191 of which came on the ground. For the Badgers it was a two-headed monster on the ground, as running backs Chez Mellusi and Braelon Allen rushed for 81 and 71 yards respectively. There was not much of an aerial threat for the Badgers as quarterback Graham Mertz finished the half with a whopping 15 yards on 3/9 passing. 

Whether or not the Illinois offense actually showed up in the first half is still up for debate as they only managed to put up 33 yards of offense. Running back Chase Brown, who rushed for 257 yards and two touchdowns last week, was held to 32 yards rushing at the half. Illinois quarterbacks Brandon Peters and Artur Sitkowski, who replaced Peters after an injury in the second quarter, somehow had a worse half than Mertz, as they finished the half with a combined 12 yards on 3/14 passing.

Wisconsin started off the second half strong continuing their trend of long, grinding drives, as the Illini defense was carved through like a hot knife through butter. The Badgers moved the ball with ease, going 75 yards down the field, capped off by a 15-yard touchdown run by Mellusi to put him over 100 yards rushing on the day and putting Wisconsin up 17-0. 

 It did not get any better from there for Illinois as the offense continued to be non-existent, leading to yet another Wisconsin touchdown. This one would also come on the ground as Allen ran it from 23 yards to put the Badgers up 24-0 right before the end of the third, which would end up being the final score of the game as the Badgers blew out the Illini in dominant fashion. 

A season to forget continued for Illinois in today's game as they were completely played off the field against Wisconsin. The Badger defense held Illinois to less than 100, only allowing 93 total yards of offense on the day. On the other side of the ball, the Wisconsin offense was absolutely unstoppable, racking up 491 yards of offense, which was led by 391 yards on the ground. They were led by a two-headed monster out of the backfield as Mellusi and Allen rushed for 145 and 131 yards respectively as well as a touchdown each. 

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