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Wisconsin Football Shocks Illinois in 25-21 Comeback on the Road

Wisconsin football shocks Illinois during fourth-quarter comeback victory!

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Wisconsin Badgers football safety Hunter Wohler makes a tackle against Illinois
Oct 21, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini running back Kaden Feagin (3) is brought down by Wisconsin Badgers safety Kamo'i Latu (13) and safety Hunter Wohler (24) during the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

In his collegiate debut, Braedyn Locke showed his mettle as the Wisconsin Badgers football team mounted a comeback victory over Illinois, securing a season-defining win at 25-21

The Badgers found their stride in the second half, led by Locke, but it wasn’t just his heroics that propelled them to victory.

Slow Start for Wisconsin Football 

The Wisconsin Badgers faced a challenging first half offensively, with the Illini jumping out ahead to a 14-0 lead. I’ll be the first to admit I thought it was over for UW at that point — I had very little faith.  

However, the Badgers went into halftime with newfound energy after a critical drive that saw Locke connecting with Pauling for a 32-yard gain. 

Subsequently, the Badgers scored their first touchdown in nearly six quarters of play (just over 100 minutes of gameplay), narrowing the score to 14-7.

Wisconsin Football Mounts a Comeback

The Wisconsin football team showed resilience in the fourth quarter. 

Braelon Allen’s standout performance, aided by a targeting penalty that saw Jer’Zhan Newton ejected, propelled a crucial drive that culminated in a touchdown pass from Locke to Pauling. 

A successful two-point conversion brought the score to 21-18. Thankfully, Mike Tressel and the defense got a critical stop to put the ball back in the hands of redshirt freshman Braedyn Locke for a chance to call the game on the road — it’s the kind of opportunity kids dream about. 

Braedyn Locke Leads Game-Defining Drive

In a tense final quarter, Braedyn Locke orchestrated a remarkable drive. 

With 3:24 remaining, the Wisconsin football team faced a do-or-die situation. Locke, in his first collegiate start, showcased composure and moxy. He led a game-winning drive, connecting with his receivers en route to capping it off with a touchdown pass to Nolan Rucci, yes, that Nolan Rucci!!!!! Giving the Badgers a 25-21 lead that they wouldn’t give back. 

Game Balls 

  • Braedyn Locke ended the day with 240 passing yards and a 51% completion rate. 
  • Braelon Allen, once again, demonstrated his prowess as he racked up 145 rushing yards. This performance marked his 19th game with 100 or more rushing yards, the most among active FBS players.
  • Will Pauling tallied 95 receiving yards on 7 catches
  • Skyler Bell secured 53 receiving yards on 4 catches. 
  • Hunter Wohler led the team with 13 combined tackles.

Wrapping Things Up 

The win elevates Wisconsin football and its record to 5-2 and, coupled with Iowa’s loss to Minnesota, positions the Badgers back at the forefront of the Big Ten West. 

Their next challenge comes when Ohio State visits Madison. Let’s Go!!

Wisconsin Football Misses on Another Big-Time In-State Recruit



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Trevor Lovec is a freelance sports writer, BadgerNotes.com correspondent, and a diehard Northern Iowa fan. He covers Wisconsin football & basketball, plus a little Badgers recruiting.

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