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Studs and Duds: Wisconsin Football Wins in Dramatic Fashion

Here are the studs and duds from the Wisconsin football team’s win over Illinois.



Wisconsin Badgers football quarterback Braedyn Locke hands it off to Braelon Allen
Oct 21, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Braedyn Locke (18) hands the ball to running back Braelon Allen (0) against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Madison, Wis. – The Wisconsin Badgers football team pulled off a stunning comeback against the Illinois Fighting Illini behind certain key players.

After losing a miserable game to the Iowa Hawkeyes, 15-6, a week ago, the Badgers have successfully bounced back. The win for Wisconsin comes at the right time as the Badgers are set to face the Ohio State Buckeyes next.

While the Wisconsin win may not turn into a streak, it is certainly a good sign.

Wisconsin Football Escapes Champaign with 25-21 Win Over Illinois

Heading into the clash against the Fighting Illini, expectations and morale were admittedly low. Wisconsin spent over 20 consecutive drives struggling to score a touchdown. Their recent offensive play in particular has been nothing but chaotic. However, the Badgers may have found their stride against Illinois even though some struggles are still evident.

After a great performance, a new face joins the ‘Studs’ during the week eight edition of ‘Studs and Duds’. The Wisconsin football team was able to pull off their most impressive win of the season on the backs of two offensive players, in particular.

Wisconsin Badgers Studs: Braelon Allen, Braedyn Locke, Will Pauling

Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Will Pauling

Oct 21, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Will Pauling (6) grabs a touchdown pass in front of Wisconsin Badgers defensive back Tyler Strain (20) during the second half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers football team seemed to finally hear the prayers of their fans after feeding star running back Braelon Allen the ball. Allen carried the football 29 times for 145 yards and one touchdown, earning himself a spot on the ‘Studs’ list for the week. Allen also had two receptions for 16 yards, but his powerful running on the ground is what set him apart. The Badgers star appeared to return to his normal self against the Fighting Illini.

For his first collegiate start, quarterback Braedyn Locke played a better game than practically everyone expected. Following the injury to starter Tanner Mordecai, Locke was cast into the starting role and quickly struggled. The morale surrounding Locke’s start and the plan to play him moving forward was certainly low. However, the young quarterback bounced back from an early lost fumble to piece together a stellar game. Locke finished the win with 240 yards, two touchdowns, and a quarterback rating of 60.7.

Locke could certainly emerge as a play-maker for the Wisconsin football team, however, another offensive player already has. Wide receiver Will Pauling proved once again why he is a weapon for the Wisconsin Badgers offense with his play against Illinois. Pauling hauled in seven receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown, averaging 13.6 yards per reception. Pauling was consistently open and proved on a 32 yard reception why he cannot be left alone in the open field.

Duds: Riley Mahlman, Jake Chaney, Kamo’i Latu

Wisconsin football

Apr 11, 2023; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin offensive lineman Riley Mahlman (71) is shown during practice Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

While the Wisconsin football team walked away with the win, that does not mean they did so without making mistakes. On the offensive side of the ball, the Badgers issues started along the offensive line. Overall, the Wisconsin offensive line graded poorly against Illinois as nine hurries and 11 pressures were allowed. In particular, right tackle Riley Mahlman had a difficult day in both pass and run blocking situations. Mahlman allowed four pressures and four hurries, while also receiving a penalty.

On the defensive side of the ball both Jake Chaney and Kamo’i Latu had difficult days. Latu had a quiet day as he recorded one tackle and struggled to make a difference for the Badgers. Thus far in 2023, his usage in the new defense has caused his efficiency to drop off significantly compared to a season ago. Chaney, on the other hand, struggled to take down the elusive Illinois quarterback Luke Altmyer. Altmyer ran around the Wisconsin football team for 100 yards and made the defense look helpless at times.

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Jarrett Guerrera is a graduate of Western New England University with a Bachelor's in English. Jarrett played rugby at the collegiate level, and has been a sports fanatic all his life. Jarrett is also a contributor for Wisconsin Sports Heroics.