The Badgers From The Past Decade: How'd They Do? Part Two

Part One: Wisconsin vs. Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, and Ohio State
Part Two: The Teams Wisconsin didn't face as much (Purdue, Michigan State, and Illinois)
Part Three: The Rest of the Big Ten (Michigan, Penn State, and Indiana)
Part Four: Wisconsin's Infamous Nonconference Schedule

vs. Purdue: 5-2, 3-2 against Joe Tiller and 2-0 against Danny Hope

2000 L 30-24
2001-2002 Hiatus
2003 L 26-23
2004 W 20-17 (The Fumble)
2005 W 31-20
2006 W 24-3
2007-2008 Hiatus
2009 W 38-0
2010 W 34-13

The Big Ten just loved splitting up this series. The infamous Kyle Orton fumble of 2004 was a veritable curse on the Boilermakers that lasted up until their gigantic upset of Ohio State in 2009. The 2009 game could not have come at a better time for Wisconsin, which was coming off a pair of lopsided losses at the hands of Iowa and Ohio State, and the Badgers pummeled Purdue for 4 straight quarters, eventually forcing Hope to bench Joey Elliott. The Wisconsin defense turned the 2010 game into a rather one-sided affair late in the game after the Boilermakers threatened a possible upset.

vs. Michigan State: 5-4, 2-1 against Bobby Williams, 1-1 against John L. Smith and 2-2 against Mark Dantonio

2000 W 17-10
2001 L 42-28
2002 W 42-24
2003 W 56-21 (The Lee Evans Game)
2004 L 49-14 (The Pounding in East Lansing)
2005-2006 Hiatus (the best timed Big Ten break. Ever)
2007 W 37-34
2008 L 26-24 (Bret Bielema's idiotic timeout)
2009 W 38-30
2010 L 34-24

This series isn't AS crazy as the Wisconsin-Northwestern series. The 2003 Lee Evans vs. the Spartans game was one of the most WTF-worthy wins in Wisconsin history. Evans caught 10 passes for 258 yards and 5 touchdowns against the Spartan secondary. The next year, though, the Spartans turned the tables, holding the Badgers (sans Anthony Davis, who benched himself with a broken ego) on a pair of goal-line stands and marching 99 yards for touchdowns like it was going out of style. Considering the awful defensive performance the Badgers put up in that game, it's a wonder ANY of those Wisconsin defensive linemen were drafted (all four of them were taken in the 2005 Draft).

And before Wisconsin could punish Michigan State many times over for their transgressions the previous season, the Big Ten decided it would be a WONDERFUL idea to split them up. That meant that the 10-3 and 12-1 Wisconsin teams of 2005 and 2006, respectively, missed a crack at a pair of decidedly mediocre Michigan State teams in 2005 (MSU was 5-6 and 2-6 in conference play) and 2006 (MSU was 4-8 and 1-7 in conference play). Since Dantonio took the head coaching position, MSU has been able to contend with Wisconsin extremely well. The 2009 score is stat-padding at its finest, MSU scored two touchdowns in the 4th Quarter after Wisconsin had taken a 38-17 lead. The Spartans got booed out of Camp Randall after a 91 yard touchdown pass from Keith Nichol to Keshawn Martin in the final minute of the game.

In 2010, the Badgers were able to turn over the Spartans 3 times, but the Wisconsin WRs had their worst game of the year, dropping several passes that killed offensive drives. MSU was able to force Wisconsin to punt a ridiculous number of times because of that, and Keshawn Martin returned one of Brad Nortman's punts for a touchdown. And despite that, the Badgers still held onto the game with a deathgrip.

vs. Illinois: 5-3, 2-2 against Ron Turner, 3-1 against Ron Zook

1999-2000 Hiatus
2001 L 42-35
2002 L 37-20
2003 W 38-20
2004 W 24-7
2005 W 41-24
2006 W 30-24
2007 L 29-22
2008 W 27-17
2009-2010 Hiatus

Oh yuck. The Badgers failed repeatedly to knock off eventual Big Ten champion Illinois in 2001, and lost by 17 the next year to a 5-7 Illini squad. After those seasons, though, Ron Turner's team just got kicked around, losing 15 of 16 Big Ten games from 2003 to 2004 and having a winless campaign in 2003. Zook's arrival in 2005 didn't and couldn't immediately solve the problem, as Illinois was winless in conference play again. In 2006, the Illini were 1-7 in the Big Ten. In a nutshell, Illinois won 2 conference games in 4 seasons of Big Ten play. That almost certainly made Zook's 2007 season even more of a surprise. In 2008, the Badgers defeated the Illini 27-17 for their first Big Ten win of the year.

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