Badgers PFF grades: Top 5 defensive players from Week 5 loss to Illinois

Madison, Wis. – Head coach Paul Chryst and the Wisconsin Badgers (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten), who needed a bounce-back performance, lost their second straight contest embarrassingly on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium. 

Wisconsin’s defense allowed an efficient 307 yards of offense to the Illini (167 passing, 137 rushing), failing to make life difficult for Tommy Devito and the nations leading rusher, Chase Brown. 

Jim Leonhard’s young defense is a far cry from UW’s defenses of recent years. They’ve continued to make the same mistakes we’ve seen up to all season: poor tackling, getting pushed around in the trenches, and failure to create pressure of any kind.

The defense registered only four pressures all day long, all of which came from Nick Herbig and Keeanu Benton, who had two apiece. 

It’s hard to take away many positives from this one.

Here’s a look at the five highest-graded defensive players from Wisconsin’s loss to Illinois, according to Pro Football Focus.

James Thompson Jr. (76.3) - Good

Wisconsin defensive end James Thompson Jr. (90) goes through a drill at practice Friday, August 13, 2021, at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.
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C.J. Goetz (75.1) - Good

Credit – Kelli Steffes, UW Athletics

Darryl Peterson (74.7) - Good

Sep 17, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Darryl Peterson (17) defends New Mexico State Aggies quarterback Diego Pavia (10) during the second quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Herbig (72.8) - Above Average

Sep 17, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Nick Herbig (19) reacts following a sack during the second quarter against the New Mexico State Aggies at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Kamo’i Latu (71.2) - Above Average

Sep 24, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes tight end Cade Stover (8) is flipped upside down by Wisconsin Badgers safety Kamo’i Latu (13) during the second quarter at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

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Story originally appeared on Badgers Wire