CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Wisconsin football team overcame a 25-7 deficit late in the third quarter, scoring on four straight possessions, but was unable to hold on as Illinois quarterback Kurt Kittner threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown strikes to defeat the Badgers 42-35 today at Memorial Stadium.
Wisconsin senior Lee Evans, who caught nine passes for 150 yards to become the UW’s single-season receiving leader with 960 yards, snagged one of his two touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Jim Sorgi with 12:48 remaining in the game to put the Badgers on top, 35-28.
After Illinois returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards to midfield on a reverse to junior Mike Hall, the Illini needed just two plays to tie the game at 35-35. Kittner, who was 24-of-45 for 401 yards and four touchdowns, completed a 36-yard pass to receiver Brendon Lloyd to set up a 14-yard strike to Brian Hodges with 12:06 left.
Wisconsin went three-and-out on its next possession and the Illini drove 64 yards for the game-winning touchdown, a 22-yard strike from Kittner to Lloyd at the 6:18 mark. The Badgers were forced to punt after gaining just seven yards on their next drive, and Illinois ran out the clock with a drive to the UW 33-yard line.
Illinois struck first in the game with Peter Christofilakos kicking a 33-yard field goal on the opening drive, but the Badgers took a 7-3 advantage at the 7:37 mark in the first quarter on a 25-yard scamper by junior quarterback Brooks Bollinger.
The Illini used three field goals and a pair of Kittner touchdown passes to open up a 25-7 advantage before Wisconsin staged its comeback, aided by a pair of Illinois turnovers. UW tailback Anthony Davis scored on two- and 17-yard runs while Sorgi, who came in at quarterback following an injury to Bollinger midway through the second quarter, tossed a pair of touchdowns to Evans. Sorgi completed 10-of-20 pass attempts for 157 yards in the contest.
Wisconsin falls to 4-4 overall, 2-2 in the Big Ten, while the Illini improve to 6-1 with a 3-1 mark in conference play. The Badgers open a three-game homestand against Michigan State on Oct. 27. Kickoff for the UW homecoming is 11:10 a.m.
— Wisconsin Sports Information Brian Borkovec