COURTESY UW SPORTS INFORMATION
Badger true freshman Dwayne Smith racked up 122 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns to help UW keep pace into the third quarter, but Wisconsin could not hold off Big Ten opponent Illinois Saturday in a 37-20 loss at Camp Randall.
The Illini opened up scoring three minutes into the game on a 46-yard field goal by John Gockman to take the 3-0 lead. Wisconsin's Mike Allen would tie the game at 3-3 at 5:13 in the first quarter on his own 20-yard field goal, but Illinois regained its lead two minutes later after Greg Lewis caught a 36-yard pass from quarterback Jon Beutjer for the touchdown. Peter Christofilakos' extra-point kick was good for the 10-3 Illinois advantage to end the first quarter.
Beutjer and Lewis teamed up again on a seven-yard touchdown pass to start the second quarter, before the UW rally began on Illinois' next drive down the field. Wisconsin's Jim Leonhard spurred the Badgers into action after forcing a fumble on a Beutjer pass to Walter Young.
UW's Alex Lewis recovered the ball and returned it 52 yards down field to the Illinois six-yard line. It would take the Badgers just one play to score their first touchdown, Smith's first scoring run, to climb back to a 17-10 game.
One of five UW takeaways in the game, Leonhard picked off a Beutjer pass on the ensuing Illinois possession to bring the ball back to Wisconsin and set up a field goal on the next drive. On a 44-yard attempt at 7:31, Allen put the ball between the uprights to bring the Badgers within four of the Illini at 17-13, but Beutjer capped his team's last scoring drive in the half with a touchdown pass to Young at 00:28 for a 24-13 Illinois lead.
Wisconsin's defense marched back into the game in the third quarter and Leonhard pulled down his second interception of the day picking up 55-yards on the return to the Illinois 10-yard line. Smith and Sorgi inched up to the Illini endzone on three plays before Smith scored his second touchdown at 9:26.
Down by just four points at 24-20, the Badgers seemed ready for the lead-change, but Illinois' offense knocked down a field goal to end the third quarter at 27-20. Illinois wrapped the game with 10 unanswered points in the fourth to ensure the Big Ten victory.
In total, Wisconsin quarterback Jim Sorgi completed 13 of 23 passes for 162 yards while Brandon Williams led UW's receiving ranks with seven catches for 83 yards in the game. Smith's 122 yards rushing and two touchdowns Saturday marks his second 100-yard game of the season and a career high of both total yards rushing and the first multiple-TD game of his young career.
With his two interceptions Saturday, Leonhard now leads the Big Ten with eight picks this season and moved up to second place on the UW single-season interceptions list behind Neovia Greyer (nine in 1970).
For Illinois, Beutjer completed 22 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns. Teammate Antoineo Harris rushed for 158 yards to earn his 1,000-yard season and Young caught nine receptions for 114 yards and one touchdown.
Up next for the Badgers, Wisconsin travels to Michigan Saturday, Nov. 16 for the last road game of the regular season. Kickoff is at 11:05 a.m.
Badgers drop another one
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