No. 18 Wisconsin trounces Illinois St., 38-0

Wisconsin led 17-0 at the half and 31-0 entering the final period

NCAA Football: Illinois State at Wisconsin
Wisconsin Badgers running back Braelon Allen rushes with the football during the second quarter against the Illinois State Redbirds at Camp Randall Stadium on Sept. 3, 2022.
Jeff Hanisch / USA Today Sports
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John Torchio scored on a 100-yard interception return and Braelon Allen on a 96-yard run as No. 18 Wisconsin rolled to a 38-0 nonconference victory over visiting Illinois State on Saturday in Madison, Wis.

Allen finished with 148 yards on 14 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown. Graham Mertz completed 14 of 16 passes for 219 yards and one touchdown.

Wisconsin led 17-0 at the half and 31-0 entering the final period.

Torchio turned the game in the first quarter with the longest interception return for a touchdown in Wisconsin history.

On their second possession, the Redbirds moved from their own 20 to a first down at the Wisconsin 12 with the aid of two 15-yard penalties. On third down from the 9, Torchio stepped in front of Zack Annexstad's pass at the goal line and cut to the right side, picking up a key final block at the Redbirds 30.


On the Badgers' next possession, Allen bounced right off a clogged middle and went 96 yards to put Wisconsin up 14-0. It was the Badgers' longest touchdown run in school history, breaking the mark of 93 yards by James White in 2013.

Vito Calvaruso put Wisconsin up 17-0 with 3:14 left in the half, capping a 13-play, 68-yard drive with a 28-yard field goal.

Illinois State ran 33 first-half plays to 19 for Wisconsin and had the advantage in time of possession, 18:52 to 11:08.

The Badgers opened the second half with a 59-yard scoring drive, capped by Allen's 1-yard touchdown run to make it 24-0.

Wisconsin followed with a 93-yard scoring drive, keyed by Mertz hitting Chimere Dike on a 74-yard completion and 16-yard touchdown pass. Isaac Guerendo added a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Annexstad, a transfer from Minnesota, completed 16 of 24 passes for 186 yards with two interceptions for the FCS Redbirds, who dropped to 1-9 vs. Big Ten opponents.

Illinois State was hampered by the loss of Cole Mueller, who rushed for a team-high 977 yards last season. He was carted off with an apparent leg injury midway through the first quarter after three carries for 21 yards.


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