Kickoff is 45 minutes away, be sure to tune in here for all of the action!
Tonights Starters have been announced:
Offense-- Vederian Lowe, Alex Palczewski, Doug Kramer, Kendric Green, Brandon Peters, Mike Epstien, Josh BheBhe, Casey Washington, Donny Navarro, Daniel Barker
Defense-- Owen Carney, Rodrick Perry, Jamal Woods, Marc Mondsier, Khalan Tolson, Jake Hansen, Delano Ware, Nate Hobbs, Tondy Adams, Sydney Brown, Derrick Smith
The Illini get the ball to start the Big Ten season. 1st and 10 at their own 18.
The first drive of the Illini season results in a big first pass, first down from Peters to BheBhe, then on the next play Mike Epstein fumbles Wisconsin ball at the Illini 35.
The Badgers attack early on that turnover. 6 plays for 33 yards from Grahm Mertz to the fullback. 7-0 Badgers early.
I missed an Illini offensive drive, but the defense including Jamal Woods got in on that 7-yard sack for the Illini. That forced a 2nd and 17 for Wisconsin which resulted in a punt. Illini Ball.
The Illini ended the first quarter down by a score. The main concern out of the 1Q is Senior Linebacker Jake Hansen, who looked like he just lost his footing when he emerged from the bottom of the pile on the 4th and 1, but had to be held up by teammates and helped off the field. Very concerned for Hansen.
Jake Hansen walked to the locker room under his own power.
A 14 play 88-yard drive for the Badgers results in a touchdown. 5-yard pass from Mertz to Ferguson. The total time of possession for the Badgers on that scoring drive was over 8 minutes. One of the keys to the game was the time of possession battle.
It is now confirmed(by me) that Brandon Peters has wheels. Peters now has 61 rush yards for the game.
Tarique Barns in on a massive tackle at the line of scrimmage, on 3rd and 8, Mertz was tackled at the line of scrimmage to force a Wisc. punt.
To start the drive Mike Epstein took the ball 20 yards, need a lot of that from him this season. 4th and 1 for the Illini, being down two scores you have to go for it.
The Illini did indeed go for it but elected to throw it, and the result was an incomplete pass from Peters to Josh BheBhe. Turnover on downs.
And on the play for the Badgers, there was a forced fumble recovered by Tarique Barns, the whistle never blew and Barns took it to the house for 6? It looked like a touchdown to me, there was no whistle blown on the initial fumble recovery, I don't see how they overturn it.
That play was indeed a touchdown. Barns with a 39-yard scoop and score for the Illini defense. Lovie talks about getting three take-a-ways each game, there is number one.
Wisconsin takes it down the field on their next drive to immediately put the Illini back down by two scores. Mertz is 13-13 for 137 for 3 TD's. I think there will be a QB controversy in Madison.
I'm not even sure what to say on that offensive drive for the Illini. Needed points especially with the Badgers getting the ball back to open the second half and Peters get's sacked twice and throws an incompletion to Josh BheBhe.
One play, a deep ball, and another Badger touchdown. 28-7 Badgers lead and there are still 28 seconds left in the 2nd quarter.
We have finally made it to half time. Illini down 28-7 the Illini can't keep blowing coverages and going three and out. Halftime update with stats coming up next.
Milo Eifler has entered the game for his first snaps of the 2020 season, fresh off the targeting suspension of the Cal bowl game last year. The Illini need a key stop and sustain an offensive drive.
Jake Hansen has officially been ruled out for the remainder of the game. I'm assuming he was undergoing concussion protocol with how wobbly he was after that play in the first quarter.
The Brandon Peters wheels are back, two consecutive rushes for 75 yards. Peters rushes again after a pass incompletion to Casey Washington. Looked to me that Peters got the touchdown, and had enough. But they didn't review it.
Barnes has really stepped into this role filling in for Hansen. Flying all around the field making tackles. Mertz has also thrown his first incompletion of the game.
Brandon Peters gets popped on that deep ball to Josh BheBhe, draws a fourth and 1 Miami Transfer Biran Hightower called for a false start, the offense is in shambles through three quarters.
Illini are back on defense. Committing a lot of penalties in the season opener. poor execution on offense.
Nobody scored for either squad in the 3rd quarter. 28-7 Badgers.
Wisconsin starts the 4th with the ball, and it has turned into the four-minute drill in keeping the ball on the ground.
Wisconsin scores another Touchdown. 35-7 Badgers 12:23 left in the contest.
One bright spot out of this game is that Blake Hayes is still the best punter in college football.
Jake Ferguson is left wide open in the endzone again Mertz has tallied 5 touchdowns in his debut, and three of those have been thrown to Ferguson who has been wide open in the endzone on at least two of those. 42-7 Badgers 4:53 left in the contest.
I didn't think that it could get worse than it already is at 42-7 but on the third play, Wiliams comes in at QB and throws into triple coverage and throws a pick. I'm assuming that the Badgers will score another TD or field goal to end the game.
I was right on the prediction of scoring(you knew it would happen since the Badgers were on the Illini 25 yard line) and add 3 more to the blowout. 45-7 Badgers with 38 seconds left in the contest.
The final score: Badgers 45 Illini 7. Postgame blog will be published tonight.