Badgers heed coach's alert in time

Published October 29, 2006

MADISON, Wis. - Turnovers were turning into touchdowns, a freshman quarterback was running wild and star running back P.J. Hill was out with a sore neck.

Illinois had No. 17 Wisconsin right where Badgers coach Bret Bielema worried they might on Saturday - down by two touchdowns at halftime and stunned that they could lose at home to a Big Ten struggler.

But Wisconsin shut off Illinois' juice in the second half and found some offensive energy of its own to score 20 unanswered points for a 30-24 victory at Camp Randall Stadium.

"It's not how they started, it's how they finished, and I can't give enough credit to what they did," Bielema said.

All week, Bielema warned his players that Illinois was dangerous - and those concerns proved true when the Illini and freshman quarterback Isiah "Juice" Williams took a 21-3 lead in the second quarter.

"They had the energy and excitement, and coach (Ron) Zook's got them playing hard," Bielema said. "But they haven't gotten over that hump, and I didn't want to have their momentum start today."

John Stocco helped Illinois by throwing an interception and losing a fumble in the first half, leading to two touchdowns.

The second-half rally came largely without Hill, who sat out most of the half after sustaining what Bielema described as a nerve injury in his neck in the first quarter.

The redshirt freshman and Big Ten's leading rusher gained 1,199 yards on 202 carries in the Badgers' first eight games but was held to 50 yards on 12 carries Saturday.

Wisconsin trailed by four early in fourth quarter when tight end Andy Crooks fell on his fumble in the end zone for a touchdown that put the Badgers ahead 27-24 with 14:50 left.

Crooks was ruled down at the 1-yard line, but was awarded a touchdown on a replay review.

Indiana 46, Michigan St. 21: Kellen Lewis threw five touchdowns, including a school-record four to James Hardy, and ran for another score for the Hoosiers in Bloomington, Ind.

Michigan State, a week after pulling off the biggest comeback in Division I-A history by erasing a 38-3 deficit to beat Northwestern, had a touchdown on the opening drive this time.

But the Hoosiers gave up just 35 yards the rest of the first half and did not allow another first down until the fourth quarter, a span of 12 possessions by the Spartans and 46 straight points by the Hoosiers.

Penn State 12, Purdue 0: Tony Hunt ran for 142 yards and Penn State earned its first shutout in four years in West Lafayette, Ind. Hunt scored the game's only touchdown in the fourth quarter for the Nittany Lions, who held the ball 35 minutes and finished with 422 total yards. Purdue entered with the nation's No. 8 offense, but was held to 261 yards.

Iowa 24, N. Illinois 14: Redshirt freshman Jake Christensen threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start, and the Hawkeyes survived a fourth-quarter rally in Iowa City. Iowa held Garrett Wolfe, the nation's leading rusher, to 66 yards on 22 carries.