Game 82: Illinois @ Wisconsin

One thing is for certain – osteoporosis will not be a threat to Badger players knowing how long they have had their backs against the wall. Plowing through their first five games undefeated could have been too heavy a load to carry for these younger Badger players. Now 1-4 in the Big Ten, they need just one more victory to secure bowl eligibility.

However, it seems as though too much is stacked against them. Their ability to finish games is severely impaired. The remedy for that does not come with the absence of their two leaders, runningback Anthony Davis and quarterback Brooks Bollinger. Due to their injuries, backups would have to step-up. Other players had to sit out as a result of issues with the law.

As if it were not enough, the referees had a hand in holding Wisconsin down as well. After the two teams traded field goals, the Illini looked to driving quietly in Badger territory until quarterback Jon Beutjer dropped back and fired a rainbow to the very deep back of the end zone. Fans turned away expecting an overthrow and incompletion. However, receiver Greg Lewis pulled it in and the refs signaled the play a touchdown even though Lewis’s foot had pressed against the white out-of-bounds stripe. Usually boos from the crowd are a form of bias, but in this case, the Badger crowd had reason to express their disgust toward the black and white striped crew. Perhaps their colors were orange and blue underneath.

The phantom touchdown eradicated any elation left within the Camp Randall walls. Illinois did not play their best game, but it did not take much to defeat an already dilapidated Wisconsin bunch. To provide further understanding of this fact, Illinois turned over the ball five times and the Badgers were still not able to overcome the 3-6 squad from Champaign.

Granted, Illinois took the Big Ten crown last year, but the Fighting Illini lost their fight this season. Wisconsin’s defense had to be their offense. Two of the turnovers set up the Badger scoring opportunities inside the ten. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, the defense couldn’t do both jobs and gave up 37 to their border rival. Illinois fans left with raw hands from all the clapping and cheering they were able to perform on this Saturday afternoon. They will face powerful Ohio State next weekend in hopes that the cheering would continue. Wisconsin fans may need anesthesia to make it through the rest of this season. One more victory is all they are required to earn a bowl bid. Michigan and Minnesota are the hurdles. Can Wisconsin jump high enough?

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