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Surprising Illinois ends Wisconsin's 14-game winning streak

Oct 6, 2007 - 11:38 PM CHAMPAIGN, Illinois (Ticker) -- Last week, Illinois won with its defense. This week, it won with a punishing ground attack.

Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries Saturday as the surprising Fighting Illini ended the nation's longest current winning streak with a 31-26 upset of No. 5 Wisconsin.

Illinois (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten Conference) defeated a top-five opponent for the first time since 1989, when it posted a 14-13 victory at Southern California.

"We said in the offseason that if we are going to improve, then we have to step up and stand up," said Illinois coach Ron Zook, whose team is off to its first 3-0 start in the Big Ten since 1990.

The loss snapped Wisconsin's 14-game winning streak and handed Bret Bielema (17-2) only his second defeat as Badgers' coach. It was Wisconsin's first setback since a 27-13 loss at Michigan on September 23 of last season.

Top-ranked Louisiana State, which hosts Florida on Saturday night, now has the nation's longest winning streak at 12 games.

"We just have to get ourselves in position to finish the game the right way," Bielema said. "We weren't able to come through today."

Last week, Illinois forced four turnovers in the second half to hold off Penn State, 27-20. A week later, the Illini wore down the physical Badgers (5-1, 2-1) by rushing for 289 yards.

The Illini have won five straight since a season-opening 40-34 loss to Missouri. The five victories surpasses Illinois' win total (4-19) from the previous two years combined.

"It's a step in the right direction," Illinois linebacker J Leman said. "It's a very fulfilling finish. All the fifth-year guys have waited a long time for this."

Mendenhall, who entered the weekend as the nation's eighth-leading rusher, is making a name for himself, collecting 772 rushing yards in Illinois' first six games.

"With a team like us, we haven't had too much success like this," Mendenhall said. "We know we can play with anybody."

The combination of Mendenhall and Juice Williams in the backfield was too much for Wisconsin to handle. Williams rushed for 92 yards on 14 carries and completed 12-of-19 passes for 121 yards and a score.

"I feel great about beating the No. 5 team in the country," Williams said. "Each and every week, we are just trying to build more momentum as we go."

The Badgers have been living dangerously and it finally caught up to them.

After allowing 564 yards in last week's 37-34 victory over Michigan State, Wisconsin fell behind Illinois, 17-0, midway through the second quarter on Williams' five-yard TD pass to Mendenhall.

The Badgers tried to rally behind Tyler Donovan, who completed 27-of-50 passes for 391 yards and two TDs.

Wisconsin closed within 24-19 on P.J. Hill's one-yard TD run with 1:30 left in the third quarter, but Illinois safeties Kevin Mitchell and Vontae Davis thwarted the comeback attempt with interceptions on Wisconsin's next two possessions.

"We had two big turnovers," Bielema said. "It got away from (Donovan) a little bit. We need to be clean in all areas."

Illinois put away the contest with a nine-play, 71-yard drive - entirely on the ground - to take a 31-19 lead on backup quarterback Eddie McGhee's five-yard TD scamper.

Wisconsin managed a late score on Donovan's nine-yard TD pass to Garrett Graham with 91 seconds remaining.

Hill, the Big Ten's leading rusher averaging 133 yards per game, was held to 83 yards on 21 carries. He was limited to only 30 yards on his first 13 carries.








  • NCAAF FINAL
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    WISCONSIN (5) 0 6 13 7 26
    ILLINOIS 7 10 7 7 31 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ILLINOIS - TD, RASHARD MENDENHALL 32 YD RUN
    (JASON REDA KICK), 7:41.
    ILLINOIS 7-0
    2ND QUARTER: ILLINOIS - FG, JASON REDA 50 YD, 4:10.
    ILLINOIS 10-0
    ILLINOIS - TD, RASHARD MENDENHALL 5 YD PASS
    FROM JUICE

    Oct 6 3:31 PM
  • 177
    roots
    pdxguy96 Added 5 roots

    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 3:30 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD WISCONSIN
    GARRETT GRAHAM 9 YD PASS FROM TYLER DONOVAN
    (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)
    WISCONSIN (5) 26
    ILLINOIS 31 1:31 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 3:25 PM
  • 172
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    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 3:25 PM
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    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 3:16 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD ILLINOIS
    EDDIE MCGEE 5 YD RUN
    (JASON REDA KICK)
    WISCONSIN (5) 19
    ILLINOIS 31 5:28 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 3:09 PM
  • 102
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    RUWTbot Took away 19 roots (Upset)

    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 3:09 PM
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    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 3:07 PM


  • NCAAF END, 3RD QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    WISCONSIN (5) 0 6 13 19
    ILLINOIS 7 10 7 24 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ILLINOIS - TD, RASHARD MENDENHALL 32 YD RUN
    (JASON REDA KICK), 7:41.
    ILLINOIS 7-0
    2ND QUARTER: ILLINOIS - FG, JASON REDA 50 YD, 4:10.
    ILLINOIS 10-0
    ILLINOIS - TD, RASHARD MENDENHALL 5 YD

    Oct 6 2:44 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD WISCONSIN
    P.J. HILL 1 YD RUN
    (TWO-POINT CONVERSION FAILED)
    WISCONSIN (5) 19
    ILLINOIS 24 1:30 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 2:34 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD ILLINOIS
    RASHARD MENDENHALL 5 YD RUN
    (JASON REDA KICK)
    WISCONSIN (5) 13
    ILLINOIS 24 6:16 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 2:24 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD WISCONSIN
    KYLE JEFFERSON 43 YD PASS FROM TYLER DONOVAN
    (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)
    WISCONSIN (5) 13
    ILLINOIS 17 10:08 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 2:13 PM
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    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 1:42 PM


  • NCAAF HALFTIME
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    WISCONSIN (5) 0 6 6
    ILLINOIS 7 10 17 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ILLINOIS - TD, RASHARD MENDENHALL 32 YD RUN
    (JASON REDA KICK), 7:41.
    ILLINOIS 7-0
    2ND QUARTER: ILLINOIS - FG, JASON REDA 50 YD, 4:10.
    ILLINOIS 10-0
    ILLINOIS - TD, RASHARD MENDENHALL 5 YD PASS
    FR

    Oct 6 1:39 PM
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    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 1:39 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG WISCONSIN
    TAYLOR MEHLHAFF 26 YD
    WISCONSIN (5) 6
    ILLINOIS 17 0:05 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 1:38 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG WISCONSIN
    TAYLOR MEHLHAFF 38 YD
    WISCONSIN (5) 3
    ILLINOIS 17 3:52 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 1:26 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD ILLINOIS
    RASHARD MENDENHALL 5 YD PASS FROM JUICE WILLIAMS
    (JASON REDA KICK)
    WISCONSIN (5) 0
    ILLINOIS 17 7:04 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 1:13 PM
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    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 1:11 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG ILLINOIS
    JASON REDA 50 YD
    WISCONSIN (5) 0
    ILLINOIS 10 10:50 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 12:58 PM


  • NCAAF END, 1ST QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    WISCONSIN (5) 0 0
    ILLINOIS 7 7 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ILLINOIS - TD, RASHARD MENDENHALL 32 YD RUN
    (JASON REDA KICK), 7:41.
    ILLINOIS 7-0

    Oct 6 12:43 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD ILLINOIS
    RASHARD MENDENHALL 32 YD RUN
    (JASON REDA KICK)
    WISCONSIN (5) 0
    ILLINOIS 7 7:19 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 6 12:27 PM
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    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 3 9:43 PM
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    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisOct 3 8:05 PM
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    Wisconsin(5) vs. IllinoisSep 29 8:04 PM