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10/06/2012 11:19 PM EDT
Stave, Ball lead Wisconsin over Illinois 31-14
WISCONSIN 31, ILLINOIS 14

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Joel Stave threw two touchdown passes and
Wisconsin's running game showed signs of life as the Badgers
defeated Illinois 31-14 on Saturday.



Stave threw for 254 yards for the Badgers (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten),
who rushed for 173 yards - 96 in the fourth quarter.



The offensive struggles of the Illini (2-4, 0-2) continued, with
quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase the only positive. He finished
with 178 yards passing and 84 rushing as Illinois gained 287
yards overall.



Scheelhaase ran for a 5-yard touchdown in the first quarter and
threw for an 8-yard touchdown to Ryan Lankford to make it 24-14
late in the game.



But Jared Abbrederis fielded the ensuing onside kick, and Montee
Ball scored his second touchdown of the game to snuff any hopes
of an Illinois comeback.



Ball has 69 TDs (63 rushing, six receiving) in his career, nine
shy of tying the FBS record held by Travis Prentice of Miami of
Ohio from 1996-99. He finished with 19 carries for 116 yards.



Abbrederis caught Stave's 59-yard touchdown pass in the fourth
quarter that put Wisconsin up 24-7 and gave him his third
consecutive game with more than 100 receiving yards since
returning from an injury. He finished with seven catches for 117
yards.



The Badgers capitalized on a pair of Illinois miscues for their
other second-half points.



With the game tied at 7-7, Stave hit Derek Watt for 26 yards,
and Illinois defensive back Terry Hawthorne was called for a
personal foul on the hit, putting the ball at the Illinois 33.



Following the collision, Hawthorne lay motionless on the field
and was put on a stretcher and taken off in an ambulance, giving
a thumbs up as he was loaded into the vehicle.



The drive ended when Kyle French made a 46-yard field goal.



Illinois' next drive stalled near midfield, and a shanked
10-yard punt by Justin DuVernois gave Wisconsin good field
position. James White had a 22-yard run, Stave hit Abbrederis
for 15 yards, and Ball ran it in from 9 yards out to put
Wisconsin up 17-7.



As Wisconsin's offense has struggled, coach Bret Bielema has
gone back and forth between Stave and Danny O'Brien at
quarterback. Stave started the game, but Bielema went to a third
option at the end of the first quarter, bringing in Curt
Phillips.



Phillips has had multiple surgeries on his right knee, has
thrown just 13 passes in his career and hadn't played since the
2009 regular season finale at Hawaii. He handed off to end the
first quarter, kept the ball for a 2-yard loss to open the
second and gave way to Stave on third down.



The juggling didn't work. Stave was picked off, with Steve Hull
returning the ball to the Wisconsin 28. Scheelhaase completed a
pass for 23 yards to give the Illini first-and-goal at the 5
before running it in on the next play.



Stave hit James White for a 62-yard touchdown on a screen pass.

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