Saturday, October 24, 2015

Halftime: Wisconsin 10, Illinois 6

                                                  Photo Credit: Geno Green

On a cloudy and brisk Saturday afternoon, Wisconsin and Illinois made for a very entertaining first half on homecoming at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill.

Both teams punted on its first two possessions, but the highlight was Badgers quarterback Joel Stave taking a shot from Illinois defensive end Carroll Phillips on 2nd and 26 and remained down for a minute with a head injury and then walked off under his power. 

Backup quarterback Bart Houston entered the game for Stave and was taken down on the first play by Phillips, who recorded his second sack in as many plays to force Wisconsin into its second three and out of the first quarter.

Illinois benefited from good field position at the Wisconsin 37 as Lunt dodged an interception from Sojourn Shelton as the ruling was reversed, but could only churn out a 37-yard field goal make by Taylor Zalewski for the game's first points.

Stave returned after sitting out the majority of the previous drive and found Ogunbowale for a 35-yard reception, Wisconsin's longest play of the quarter. 

However, the drive took an interesting turn as Stave went to the training table to be evaluated and Houston would re-enter pick back up like a turntable and find Robert Wheelwright for a reception and dive into the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown to put the Badgers ahead 7-3 with 14:09 left in the first half.

The drive came at a price for Wisconsin as Stave would be later ruled out of the game due to the earlier head injury.

After Illinois went three and out, Wisconsin placekicker Rafael Gaglianone's 26-yard field goal capped a 12-play, 59 yard drive in 5:56 to increase its lead to 10-3.

The Illini would match the scoring on their next drive as a 37-yard floating pass from Wes Lunt to Malik Turner helped set up a 25-yard field goal make by Zalewski.

Despite a couple of first down snags from Badgers tight end Tony Fumagalli, Illini cornerback Eaton Spence would pick off Houston in the end zone with 0:33 left in the half.

Illinois ran a couple of plays to end the half as it went into the locker room down 10-6 to Wisconsin.