CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois Football was shut out for the first time since 2018, losing to Wisconsin 24-0 on homecoming. For the first time since 1977 Illinois fails to put up 100 net yards in a game and the stats show just how bad it was. Illinois ran 47 plays against the Badgers for just 93 yards. A closer look makes it even worse. 26 yards on the ground, 67 in the air for the Orange and Blue. Meanwhile the Badgers had little trouble running the ball, carrying it 61 times for 391 yards.
“It’s sickening. It doesn’t sit well,” says Illinois running back Chase Brown.
“Whenever you have zero points it’s like we gotta put points up on the board,” says wide receiver Isaiah Williams.
“The looks on our faces, that’s a taste that we don’t ever want to taste again so we’re going to take this one pretty hard and move on,” says outside linebacker Owen Carney.
Art Sitkowksi replaced Brandon Peters at quarterback, after he left with an unspecified injury. The switch didn’t help much, with Sitkowksi going 8-for-27 for 55 yards.
“Whatever is called on me, I’ve got to do,” said Sitkowski. “If it’s third and long, I’ve got to do my job. If it’s third and short, I’ve got to do my job. Just got to keep doing my job and I’ve got to motivate those around me to do their job too.”
The Illinois defense hung tough but Wisconsin controlled the clock eating up nearly 43 minutes in time of possession. Combine that with the Illini going 1-for-12 on third down and it was a recipe for disaster.
“I think there was enough positive on defense that you felt good that we could go forward but we just couldn’t execute in throw game that gives yourself a chance in this type of game,” says head coach Bret Bielema.
Illinois now heads into the bye week 2-5. Illinois head coach Bret Bielema says they’ll use the time to get healthy and reevaluate a lot of things now seven games in, including playing some new guys. With Penn State and Iowa still left on the schedule, there are even more challenges ahead. They travel to Penn State on October 23rd against the ranked Nittany Lions.