Box Score Breakdown: Illinois @ Wisconsin

Things are so easy when you break the down by the numbers, and that is what Jeff Murdock does every weekend after the Illinois football games. He sits down in front of a stat sheet and uses it to help in his analyzation of the Illini. This week he noticed there was nothing pretty on Saturday's stat sheet outside of Anthony Davis.

Illinois played its first road game of the season on Saturday, and they looked like they wanted to be back within the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium. The running game that had been so kind to the Illini over the last four games could only net 42 yards on 27 carries. The passing game struggled mightily until Chris Pazan replaced Brad Bower who had replaced Jon Beutjer. Only Pazan had a completion percentage over 60%, and only Pazan was able to connect for a touchdown pass against the Badger defense.

  Wisconsin Illinois
First Downs 18 16
Rushes - Yards 50-258 27-42
Passing Yards 99 164
Passes Comp-Att-Int 9-20 20-41
Total Offense (Plays-Yards) 70-357 68-206
Fumble Returns - Yards 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns - Yards 5-38 3-42
Kickoff Returns - Yards 2-35 4-86
Interception Returns - Yards 0-0 0-0
Punts (Num - Avg.) 5-38.6 8-44.6
Fumbles - Lost 1-1 2-1
Time of Possession 34:09 25:51
Third Down Conversions 9-17 8-18
Fourth Down Conversions 1-1 0-0
Red Zone Scores - Chances 2-2 1-2
Sacks By: Num - Yards 2-12 1-4

Looking at just the overall numbers it is easily determined how Wisconsin was able to win this football game: defense and the ground game. The Badger defense held Illinois to just 206 yards in the game, well below the team average of 391.8 yards per game. The Badger running game just ran all over the Illini averaging just over five yards per carry while amassing 258 yards on 50 carries. The return of Anthony really sparked the Badger ground game. He carried the ball 27 times for 213 yards and three touchdowns. At times during the game, it seemed like the Illini defense was just bouncing off of Davis instead of tackling him.

The Wisconsin defensive line did just what they wanted to do, they stopped the Illini ground attack. Both Pierre Thomas and EB Halsey were ineffective for the entire game. Fullback Jason Davis led the Illini in rushing with 30 yards on his eight carries.

  Attempts Total TDs Long Average
Jason Davis 8 30 0 7 3.8
EB Halsey 8 27 0 20 3.4
Marcus Mason 2 1 0 1 0.5
Jon Beutjer 2 1 0 2 0.5
Pierre Thomas 5 -1 0 3 -0.2
Brad Bower 1 -5 0 0 -5.0
Chris Pazan 1 -11 0 0 -11.0
Totals 27 42 0 20 1.6

Jason Davis: Davis was the only Illini player who was able to consistently gain ground on every rushing attempt he had. He did not lose a yard on any of his eight carries, and kept the Illini offense moving forward when the ball was handed to him. In a game where the Wisconsin defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, Jason Davis was still able to push the offense forward slowly, but surely.

EB Halsey: This may have been Halsey's worst game in an Illini uniform. Outside of his one run for twenty yards, he was only able to muster seven yards on seven carries.

Pierre Thomas: Not only was this probably the worst game of EB Halsey's Illini career, it also could be classified as the worst game of Pierre Thomas' Illinois career. On five carries, Pierre could only muster losing one net yard, and his longest run was three yards. So outside of that carry for three yards, his other four carries each averaged losing a yard.

Ugly. That single word could easily sum up the Illini passing game on Saturday afternoon. Coach Turner went through three quarterbacks until the Illini could muster any movement forward with the offense. Jon Beutjer was completely ineffective, and seemed to have reverted into his former gun slinging self. Only Chris Pazan was able to move the Illini offense down the field for a touchdown.

Comp-Att-Int Yards Touchdowns
Jon Beutjer 12-27-0 85 0
Chris Pazan 7-10 67 1
Brad Bower 1-4 12 0
Totals 20-41 164 1

Jon Beutjer: Jon may have lost the Illini starting quarterback job with his performance on Saturday. It is never a good sign when the Head Coach responds to a question about who is the number one quarterback with "we will look at the game films and see where we are."

Chris Pazan: Pazan was the only Illini quarterback that was able to move the ball. He connected with Melvin Bryant with a three yard touchdown pass for the Illini's only score of the game, and he also had one would be touchdown pass to Kendrick Jones called back.

It will be interesting to see who Turner names as the starter for the Michigan State game on Saturday. Brad Bower had been the number two quarterback for Illinois earlier in the year, but he was pulled on Saturday after just one series under center. Chris Pazan was the only effective quarterback for the Illini against Wisconsin, and Jon Beutjer is the senior who has been the starter for parts of the last three seasons.

With the complete lack of a passing game, the Illini receivers were pretty much non-existent on Saturday afternoon in Madison. Jason Davis led the Illini in receiving yards, and all of his catches came on swing passes out of the backfield. The Illini wide receivers only had eight receptions, and tight end Melvin Bryant had two. The Illini backfield of Jason Davis and EB Halsey each had five catches.

Receptions Yards TDs Long
Jason Davis 5 35 0 11
EB Halsey 5 22 0 12
Kendrick Jones 4 57 0 18
Franklin Payne 2 18 0 11
Mark Kornfeld 2 17 0 13
Melvin Bryant 2 15 1 12
Totals 20 164 1 18

Melvin Bryant: The Illini tight end caught the only touchdown pass from Illini quarterback Chris Pazan on a three yard reception in the third quarter.

The Illini defense once again showed its complete susceptiveness to the run. Every one knew Wisconsin would play traditional Big Ten football with the three yards and a cloud of dust style that Barry Alvarez loves to employ. Illinois' defensive line was not able to get a push against the Badger offensive line almost all game. There were only six tackles by the Illini for a loss on the afternoon, four of them coming from the defensive line: Scott Moss, Ryan Matha (2), and Josh Norris.

Solo Assists Total
Morris Virgil 5 5 10
Matt Sinclair 5 5 10
Justin Harrison 3 7 10
Mike Gawelek 2 6 8
Scott Moss 3 3 6
Ryan Matha 3 2 5
Anthony Thornill 2 3 5
J. Leman 2 2 4
Joe Mele 1 2 3
Chris Norwell 0 3 3
Kelvin Hayden 0 3 3
Travis Williams 1 1 2
Kyle Knezetic 1 1 2
Arthur Boyd III 1 1 2
Alan Ball 1 0 1
Pierre Thomas 1 0 1
Josh Norris 1 0 1
James Cooper 1 0 1
Brian Brosnan 0 1 1
Mike O'Brien 0 1 1

Justin Harrison: The freshman from Bloomington received his first start on Saturday, and he was able to record ten tackles from the defensive back field. It was unfortunate that he was required to do so much tackling, especially because the Badgers ran all game. It meant Anthony Davis made it through the defensive line and the linebackers before Harrison was able to slow him down.

Mike O'Brien: Once again Mike O'Brien was at the bottom of the list of tacklers for the Illini. The senior defensive end just has not had the effect on the game that was expected from him this season. I have a feeling his injury is still slowing him down, but for Illinois to succeed he needs to produce more.

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