Madison, WI (Sports Network) - Montee Ball ran for 116 yards and a pair of touchdowns to help the Wisconsin Badgers erase an early deficit and collect a 31-14 win the Illinois Fighting Illini in a Big Ten matchup at Camp Randall stadium.
Jared Abbrederis caught seven passes for 117 yards and a touchdown for Wisconsin (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) which improved to 4-0 at home this season. Joel Stave completed 16-of-25 passes for 254 yards, two scores and an interception. No receiver other than Abbrederis had more than two receptions.
Illinois (2-4, 0-2) got the bulk of its offensive production from quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase who threw for 178 yards and a touchdown on 18-of-29 passing while also leading the team with 84 yards rushing. Overall the Illini were limited offensively managing only 284 total yards in losing their third straight.
Scheelhaase broke through for a five-yard rushing touchdown early in the second quarter to give the Illini an early 7-0 lead.
Wisconsin evened things up when James caught a screen pass from Stave and ran the ball 62 yards for a touchdown.
The Badgers would then take a 10-7 lead midway through the third quarter when Kyle French nailed a 46-yard field goal.
That lead grew to a 17-7 advantage for Wisconsin on a nine-yard rushing touchdown from Ball early in the fourth quarter.
Less than two minutes later Stave completed a 59-yard touchdown pass to Abbrederis as the Badgers continued to pull away.
Illinois wouldn't let Wisconsin run away with the decision though with the Illini getting an eight-yard passing touchdown from Scheelhaase to Ryan Lankford with six and a half minutes remaining.
Ball sealed the win for Wisconsin with his second touchdown of the day, a 19- yard run that put the Badgers ahead 31-14.
Wisconsin won despite converting on only 2-of-10 third down attempts. The Badgers sacked Scheelhaase four times while allowing no sacks themselves.