By TOM LEA
MADISON – The Wisconsin Badgers pulled away from Illinois in the second half of Saturday’s game inside Camp Randall Stadium. The 31-14 win improves UW’s record to 4-2. Here are some key notes.
-With the win the Badgers have now won 20-straight games inside Camp Randall Stadium, good for the nation’s second-longest active home winning streak in the country. UW has also won 11-straight home games against Big Ten opponents, also the second-longest conference home winning streak in the nation.
-UW is now 6-1 in Big Ten home openers under Bielema. He is also 43-3 at home during his six-plus seasons as head coach.
-The Badgers 427 yards of total offense marks the team’s highest such output this season, eclipsing its 423-yard effort in a 37-26 win over UTEP two weeks ago.
-UW’s defense allowed just 284 yards of total offense against the Illini, marking its best performance of the season. UW has now allowed 14 of its past 20 opponents to fewer than 18 points, going 13-1 in those games.
-Wisconsin proved to have quick-strike potential offensively against Illinois. All four of the Badgers scoring drives consumed less than three minutes. Entering Saturday only two of UW’s 14 touchdown drives on the season had such status.
-Senior RB Montee Ball scored two rushing touchdowns in the second half to move into a tie for third in NCAA history with 69 career scores. Should Ball score 10 more touchdowns this year he will tie Travis Prentice’s (Miami of Ohio) all-time career touchdown record.
-Ball is also just two touchdowns behind Ron Dayne for the Big Ten career touchdown record.
-Jared Abbrederis’ 59-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter marked his fifth reception of 45-plus yards this season. He has caught a touchdown pass in each of UW’s past three games and now has 16 career receiving scores, tying Chris Chambers and Garrett Graham for sixth-most in school history.
-Joel Stave set a career high with 254 yards passing, his third-straight 200-plus yard passing performance to start his career.
-Mike Taylor’s 12 tackles marks the 11th time in his last 16 games that he has finished with at least 12 stops.
-Pat Muldoon’s 2.5 tackles-for-loss sets a new career high in that category.
-Freshman safety Michael Caputo received his first career start Saturday afternoon.
-Sophomore tight end Sam Arneson made his first career reception, a five-yarder in the first quarter.
Illinois head coach Tim Beckman on defensive back Terry Hawthorne’s injury. Hawthorne left the field in an ambulance following what appeared to be head-to-head contact with UW’s Derek Watt.
“Great news, a blessing, great news for Terry. The CT scan was negative and he will be on the flight back home with us. That’s great news. I rushed to see him when he went down because I saw that he was down. I think he came off the hash. We were running a blitz from the field and he came off the hash and tried to make the play.”
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