College Football
Preview
Illinois at Wisconsin
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 1, 2022
Where: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wisconsin

After being steamrolled in their conference opener, the Wisconsin Badgers will be looking to avoid an early hole in the Big Ten West when former head coach Bret Bielema returns to Madison, Wis., with Illinois on Saturday.

Wisconsin (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) is coming off a 52-21 loss at third-ranked Ohio State last Saturday. Illinois (3-1, 0-1), which lost its conference opener 23-20 at Indiana back on Sept. 2, will have two extra days to prepare after a 31-0 nonconference rout of Chattanooga on Thursday.

Bielema was 68-24 in seven seasons at Wisconsin before leaving after the 2012 season for Arkansas. Current Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst was the Badgers' offensive coordinator six seasons under Bielema.

"We've got three wins, obviously we'd love to have four, but I think we've learned a lot about our team in these first four games," Bielema said. "Now, we will take a nice nine-day preparation into the Wisconsin game."

Wisconsin, which had routed New Mexico State 66-7 on Sept. 17, was dominated in all phases by Ohio State, falling behind 21-0 in the first quarter. The Badgers' defense was shredded for 539 yards -- 258 on the ground and 281 through the air.

Braelon Allen was the lone bright spot for Wisconsin, rushing for 165 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Graham Mertz completed 11 of 20 passes for 94 yards, but threw a costly pick on his first pass attempt that set up a short 16-yard drive that put the Badgers down 14-0 with nine minutes left in the first quarter.

The Badgers passing game suffered a major loss against Ohio State when tight end Clay Cundiff was carted off with a left leg injury and is out indefinitely.

Illinois outgained Chattanooga 502-142, piling up 338 yards through the air. Tommy DeVito completed 24 of 32 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns.

Chase Brown ran for 108 yards, bringing his national-leading rushing total to 604 yards. Brown is the first Illini running back to top 100 yards or more in five straight games.

"I think they've kind of settled in on their identity," Chryst said of the Illini. "I think the back is really good and talented, runs hard and breaks a lot of tackles. And, then I think they do a good job of complementing it. I think they've got some explosive playmakers outside."

Wisconsin has won nine of the last 12 against Illinois, with the only loss a 24-23 road upset on a last-second field goal in 2019 when the Badgers were ranked No. 6.

--Field Level Media

Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Illinois 3-1 W2 28.2 8.0 3-0 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-1
Wisconsin 2-2 L1 34.8 19.0 2-1 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-1
Last Meeting
Illinois Wisconsin
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/9/21 WIS 24 ILL 0 93 26 67 491 391 100
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Illinois A. Sitkowski 29.6 55 0 0
Wisconsin G. Mertz 52.6 100 0 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Illinois C. Brown 8 35 4.4 0
Wisconsin C. Mellusi 21 145 6.9 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Illinois I. Williams 4 23 5.8 0
Wisconsin K. Pryor 2 47 23.5 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Illinois T. Adams 0
Wisconsin B. Allen 1
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Illinois T. Devito 68.8 951 9 2
Wisconsin G. Mertz 67.1 791 7 3
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Illinois C. Brown 95 604 6.4 3
Wisconsin B. Allen 73 497 6.8 6
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Illinois I. Williams 28 260 9.3 2
Wisconsin S. Bell 12 201 16.8 2
Touchdowns Player TD
Illinois C. Brown 4
Wisconsin B. Allen 6
Quickchart Matchup
Illinois Illinois Off vs  Wisconsin Wisconsin Def
Illinois 455.2 yards
Wisconsin 319.2 yards
Illinois 4.8 yards/rush
Wisconsin 3.8 yards/rush
Illinois 7.3 yards/attempt
Wisconsin 7.3 yards/attempt
Wisconsin Wisconsin Off vs  Illinois Illinois Def
Wisconsin 433 yards
Illinois 241.2 yards
Wisconsin 5.2 yards/rush
Illinois 3.2 yards/rush
Wisconsin 10.1 yards/attempt
Illinois 4.6 yards/attempt