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Stave, Ball lead Wisconsin over Illinois 31-14

Associated Press Modified: October 6, 2012 at 10:35 pm •  Published: October 6, 2012

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.

Coach Tim Beckman said a CT scan was negative, and Hawthorne was expected to be on the team flight home.

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.

"We've got to learn how to respond," Beckman said. "If it's not a good play like a shanked punt or something like that scenario, we've got to react in a positive way instead of letting it hurt us for the remainder of the game."

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, who later hit White for a 62-yard touchdown on a screen pass, said coming out of the game didn't hurt his rhythm, and the ball got away from him on the interception. He finished with 254 yards through the air.

Bielema said the offensive coaches have been working on a package with Phillips, and the switch was planned. Still, he praised Stave.

"He doesn't do everything right. Obviously, he's going to get better with every game," Bielema said. "What he gives us out there is really, really something special."