In the past 44 years, Illinois has played 20-plus point favorites 15 times at Memorial Stadium with zero upset victories.
That streak ended on Saturday against Wisconsin. The 31-point underdog Fighting Illini pulled off the biggest upset in college football this season by knocking No. 6 Wisconsin from the ranks of the unbeaten.
Junior kicker James McCourt drilled a 39-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Illini to its first win over a ranked opponent since 2011 and made the Badgers the highest ranked opponent to fall to Illinois since 2007.
McCourt’s kick capped a 10-point rally by the Fighting Illini after they fell behind 23-14 with just under 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
Turnovers played a key role. The Illini converted three takeaways, two fumble recoveries and an interception, into 17 points. McCourt’s game winner came nine plays after Tony Adams’ interception with 2:32 to play.
Josh Imatorbhebhe, a transfer wide receiver from USC who entered the game with a Big Ten-leading five touchdown catches, hauled in a 29-yard TD toss from Brandon Peters with 5:53 remaining to start the comeback.
The Illini put up 24 points against a Wisconsin defense that had allowed only 29 points all season and was coming off back-to-back shutouts. A first-half 48-yard touchdown catch by Donny Navarro snapped a scoreless streak of 148 minutes of game time by the Badgers defense, dating back to September 28.
Lehigh: For the second straight game the Mountain Hawks won in dramatic fashion on the road, pushing their winning streak to three straight and improving to 2-0 in the Patriot League. Devon Bibbens’ four-yard touchdown from Addison Shoup lifted Lehigh past Fordham in overtime. The team appeared headed for a second overtime with an exchange of field goals, but a roughing the kicker call against the Rams gave Lehigh a second chance in the first OT and the Mountain Hawks took full advantage. Shoup’s touchdown pass was his only attempt of the game. He took over for Tyler Monaco after the senior was forced out with an injury in overtime. Zach Davis powered the Rams with 191 rushing yards on 34 carries and forced OT with a 40-yard scamper with 7:25 to play in regulation.
Baylor: The Bears trailed by 10 early in the third quarter and were still down three early in the fourth quarter before ripping off 21 unanswered points in a 4-minute span to bury Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The victory was only the second for Baylor at Boone Pickens Stadium and moved No. 14 ranked Baylor to 7-0. This was the third time Baylor rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit in the last four weeks. QB Charlie Brewer threw for 312 yards, JaMycal Hasty had 205 total yards rushing and receiving and the defense kicked in a fumble return for a touchdown by LB Terrel Bernard.
Davidson: Junior running back Wesley Dugger had a career day in Jacksonville, Florida that included setting a Wildcats program record. Dugger had a career-best five touchdown as part of a 193-yard outing in the victory over Jacksonville. Those five rushing scores moved Dugger into the No. 1 spot for Davidson career rushing touchdowns with 37. For becoming the Wildcats’ all-time leader in rushing touchdowns, Dugger earned the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week. Dugger also moved into third on the all-time school rushing list with 2,940 yards and counting. Davidson Chapter President George Hatalowich finished with five tackles including one tackle for a loss as part of a defense that limited the Dolphins to only 81 rushing yards.
Penn State: Quarterback Sean Clifford, the Penn State Chapter President, was responsible for all four Nittany Lions touchdowns in a tight victory over No. 16 Michigan in front of the fourth-largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history. Penn State remains unbeaten at 7-0, moved up to No. 6 in the latest rankings and beat back-to-back ranked opponents for the first time since 2005. Clifford had a rushing touchdown and three TD passes, including a pair to wideout K.J. Hamler, who finished with 108 receiving yards on six catches.
Saint Francis: The Red Flash defense posted the first shutout for Saint Francis since 2015 and limited Long Island to only 157 total yards. Redshirt sophomore QB Jason Brown tossed three TD passes and finished with 247 yards through the air. Saint Francis’ defense limited LIU to minus-1 yard rushing, racked up 14 tackles for a loss and recorded four sacks. SFU Chapter President Nick Rinella chipped in with four tackles and was in on a tackle for a loss.
Princeton: The Tigers scored seven touchdowns and posted 51 points in a near-perfect first half to stay undefeated and run its winning streak to 15 games. At the center of the Princeton storm was QB Kevin Davidson. The senior from California, who leads the FCS in completion percentage at nearly 73 percent, threw for 379 yards and five touchdowns by completing 27 of his 35 attempts. Wideout Jacob Birmelin was the other half of the Tigers’ explosion, registering 11 catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone.
Clemson: Led by a defense forced three turnovers, registered six sacks and limited Louisville to only 263 total yards, the defending National Champion Tigers stayed unbeaten and ran their winning streak to a record 22 in a row. RB Travis Etienne had another monster game with 192 yards on only 14 carries and one touchdown. Etienne averaged 13.7 yards per carry as part of an offense that piled up 551 yards on the road.
Colgate: After seven consecutive setbacks the defending Patriot League champions picked up victory No. 1 of the 2019 season on the road at Cornell. But it wasn’t easy. The Raiders defense had to make a late stand to preserve the one-point win. Defensive lineman Jacob Esarco had a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The Raiders turned Esarco’s fumble recovery into seven critical points. Colgate’s last victory was in the second round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs – a span of 322 days.