Illinois stuns No. 6 Wisconsin with a field goal as time expires
We have our second major upset of the college football season
No. 6 Wisconsin, a 30-point favorite, was knocked off by Illinois 24-23 when James McCourt hit a 39-yard field goal as time expired.
The game-winning drive was set up by an interception of Badgers quarterback Jack Coan by Tony Adams near midfield. The Illini then drove for two first downs to set up McCourt for the winning kick.
Earlier in the fourth quarter, Wisconsin appeared in control with a 23-14 and the ball deep in Illinois territory. But Hesiman Trophy candidate Jonathan Taylor, who ran for 132 yards on 28 carries, fumbled. Illinois recovered and then marched 75 yards in four plays, capped by a 29-yard touchdown catch by Josh Imatorbhebhe.
Wisconsin then tried to run out the final six minutes on the clock. The Badgers got to midfield before Coan's miscue on third down.
The victory is a critical for Illini coach Lovie Smith, who is in his fourth season and has yet to take the team to a bowl game.
“Our program, we needed to get a signature win. I was just hoping today was the day, and the day came,” Smith said.
The Badgers appeared to be a College Football Playoff contender entering the weekend and had not trailed in any game this season. The defense had shut out four of its six opponents and not allowed 14 points to any team.
Perhaps looking ahead to next week's road game at No. 4 Ohio State, the Badgers looked lethargic despite taking a 20-7 lead early in the third quarter on a Taylor touchdown run.
Coan, who had been efficient all season, was not sharp and a made a big error to set up the wining score.
“We had two drives late in the game that ended in turnovers,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. “It’s always hard to win on the road, and that made it even harder. We just have to move on and learn from this.”
The shocking result comes one week after South Carolina won at No. 3 Georgia.
Contributing: The Associated Press