Illinois quarterback Tommy DeVito ran for three one-yard rushing touchdowns and completed 18 of 24 passes for 167 yards to lead Illinois to a dominant 34-10 rout of Wisconsin. The Illini (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) scored 17 points off three Wisconsin turnovers and are off to the program’s best five-game start to a season since 2015.
Chase Brown ran for 129 yards, his sixth straight game with 100 or more yards, including a 49-yard touchdown, while Brian Hightower (59 receiving yards) and Pat Bryant (51 yards) each made their impact in the passing game, as the Illini continue their impressive 2022 season.
The Illini defense continued its newfound dominance as Ryan Walters’ unit limited usual Big Ten powerhouse Wisconsin (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) to just two rushing yards on 25 carries. Yes, you read that right. TWO rushing yards.
While Mertz (17-for-30 passing for 206 yards, one touchdown) found some yardage through the air early, Illinois picked off the Wisconsin quarterback twice in the first half — one by Kendall Smith off a Devon Witherspoon pass break up and one by Taz Nicholson, his first career interception — to set up short scoring drives, both capped by DeVito plunges, to give Illinois a 14-10 halftime lead.
And from that point on, the Illini never looked back. Here are some interesting tidbits from Saturday’s victory:
- Illinois in the third quarter outscored Wisconsin 17-0 and outgained Wisconsin 163-10.
- Chase Brown is the first Illini to run for 100+ yards in five straight games to start a season.
- Tommy DeVito is the first Illini quarterback to rush for three touchdowns in a single game since AJ Bush Jr. did in 2018.
- Illinois is the first team to hold Wisconsin under 40 rushing yards since Northwestern (minus-26 yards) on Nov. 21, 2015.
It was also bittersweet for former Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema to win in his return to Camp Randall Stadium.
(Photo Credit: MARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL)