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Unranked Illinois upsets No. 6 Wisconsin

By
Alex Butler

Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Unranked Illinois came back from a nine point deficit to upset No. 6 Wisconsin Saturday in Champaign, Illinois.

James McCourt hit a 39-yard field goal as time expired to complete the biggest upset of the college football season, leading the Fighting Illini (3-4) to a 24-23 victory over the Badgers (6-1).

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Illinois won the game despite losing the time of possession battle 40:49 to 19:11. The Badgers had three turnovers in the loss. The win was Illinois' first Big Ten victory against a ranked team since 2007.

"We've been close a couple times, where we felt like we had a chance to win the game," Illinois coach Lovie Smith told the Big Ten Network.

"We had a great game plan and we are healthy now. When we are healthy, we are a pretty good football team. All the credit goes to these guys. We finally finished a game."

The Badgers took a 7-0 lead with quarterback Jack Coan connecting with Jake Ferguson for an 18-yard touchdown on the first drive of the game.

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Wisconsin added a field goal for a 10-0 edge before Illinois added their first touchdown with Brandon Peters finding Donny Navarro for a 48-yard score. The Badgers added a field goal before scoring another touchdown in the second quarter, with Jonathan Taylor scoring on a five-yard run.

Illinois closed the gap to 20-14 with a 43-yard Reggie Corbin touchdown run in the third quarter before the Badgers pushed the lead back to 23-14 with another field goal.

Taylor fumbled in the fourth quarter, giving the ball back to Illinois. The Fighting Illini went on a four-play, 75-yard scoring drive, capped off with a Brandon Peters touchdown passes to Josh Imatorbhebhe to make the score 23-21.

Tony Adams intercepted Coan on the Badgers' final drive of the game, giving the ball back to the Fighting Illini. McCourt's game-winning kick ended a 9-play, 32-yard drive.

Peters completed 9 of 21 passes for 174 yards and two scores in the win. Coan completed 24 of 32 passes for 264 yards, one score and an interception for Illinois. Taylor had 28 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown for the Badgers.

Wisconsin faces Ohio State at noon Oct. 26 in Columbus, Ohio. Illinois battles Purdue at noon Oct. 26 in West Lafayette, Ind.

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