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Illinois vs. Wisconsin: Illini hope to slow Montee Ball

Illinois will try to recover from their Big Ten opening loss and slow Montee Ball when they travel to Wisconsin to take on the Badgers.

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Badgers hold narrow lead after three quarters

After three quarters of play from Madison, the Badgers lead Illinois 10-7. Both defenses have held when they had to, and the game is still up for grabs with 15 minutes to play.

The Illini defense did a good job for most of the first half, and they started the third quarter by forcing Wisconsin to go three and out. They started their first possession of the half from their own 12 yard line, and were forced to punt despite moving the ball into the Wisconsin half of the field.

Wisconsin took the lead on their next possession, as Kyle French connected on a 46-yard field goal to put Wisconsin up 10-7. They started that drive on their own 13, but managed to move to the Illinois 29. The big play of the drive was a 27-yard pass from Joel Stave to Derek Watt for 27 yards with a 15-yard penalty added on to the end of it.

Wisconsin started to establish their ground game in the third quarter despite the Illini doing an excellent job against Montee Ball. Ball has only 20 yards on the ground through the end of three quarters.

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Illini and Badgers tied 7-7 at halftime

At halftime in Madison, Wisconsin and Illinois are tied 7-7.

The Illini held the Badgers to just 39 yards through the first 15 minutes, but Wisconsin began to move the ball a bit better during the second quarter.

The second play of the second quarter saw Steve Hull intercept a Joel Stave pass, and Illinois took advantage of the turnover just two plays later. After Hull returned the interception to the Wisconsin 28, Nathan Scheelhaase found Josh Ferguson to put the Illini at the 5-yard line. Scheelhaase would run the ball in on the next play, putting the Illini up by 7.

Wisconsin answered the Illinois score late in the second. Stave found James White for a 62-yard touchdown with just over three minutes to play in the half, knotting the game at 7-7 at the break.

Illinois got the ball to open the game, so they'll be kicking off to start the second half. They've done an excellent job of containing Montee Ball, holding him to just 13 yards on six carries.

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No score in Madison after one quarter of play

The defenses dominated the first quarter of Illinois' game against Wisconsin, as the first quarter ended without a score. The two teams have combined for just 110 yards of total offense, with the Illini holding the Badgers to just 39 yards.

Illinois got the ball to start the game, and they went three and out on their first possession. Kenzel Doe muffed the ensuing punt, but he managed to fall on top of it to avoid a costly mistake. After a three and out of their own, Wisconsin punted the ball back to the Illini.

The Illini managed to move the ball on their second drive of the game, moving the ball to the Badger 29 before missing a 47-yard field goal attempt. The two teams would exchange punts to close the first quarter, with Wisconsin in possession at the start of the second.

Montee Ball has not been a factor in the first quarter, carrying the ball only one time and losing two yards.

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