Wisconsin Suffers First Loss of Season in Stunning 24-23 Upset By Illinois, One Week Before Playing Ohio State

By Dan Hope on October 19, 2019 at 9:36 pm
Illinois celebrates its game-winning field goal.
Patrick Gorski – USA TODAY Sports

All Wisconsin needed to do to set up a matchup of 7-0 teams at Ohio Stadium next weekend was to beat Illinois on Saturday. Wisconsin entered Saturday's game as a 30.5-point favorite, so that wasn't supposed to be much trouble.

The Fighting Illini, however, had other ideas.

In what might very well be the upset of the year to date in college football, Illinois earned a 24-23 win over Wisconsin on Saturday when James McCourt knocked a game-winning 39-yard field goal through the uprights as time expired.

After winning each of their first six games of the year, including four shutouts, the Badgers turned the ball over three times and gave up a season-high 315 yards to Illinois on Saturday. They took a 23-14 lead with less than 10 minutes to play, but a fumble by Jonathan Taylor and an interception thrown by Jack Coan on the Badgers' final two possessions of the game set up the touchdown and field goal that won Illinois the game.

Now, Wisconsin will need to bounce back in a big way as it prepares to play Ohio State next Saturday in the Shoe, in a game that will kick off at noon and will be televised on Fox.

Saturday's stunning upset was Illinois' first win over a ranked opponent since it upset Ohio State in 2007, and snapped a four-game losing streak in which Lovie Smith's squad lost to Eastern Michigan, Nebraska, Minnesota and Michigan. 

Illinois is now 3-4 on the season, while Wisconsin is 6-1.

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