The No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers (6-0 overall, 3-0 B1G) finally hit the road again, after five straight home games, and will do battle with Lovie Smith and the Illinois Fighting Illini (2-4 overall, 0-3 B1G). UW has only played one other divisional opponent this year, Illinois’ state-mate Northwestern, and will finish off the season with five of six games against the B1G West.
Wisconsin is in search of a tenth consecutive win over the Fighting Illini, looking to extend a streak that dates to 2008. The last two times the Badgers were in Champaign, they won only 24-10 and 24-13, however Illini fans will be quick to remind you that neither game was as close as the score indicated.
We’ve got a nice little Saturday planned.— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) October 18, 2019
https://t.co/63lshEomhi#Illini x #ILLINOIShomecoming pic.twitter.com/ByQI2dYvzt
The Illini come into the game with the No. 111 ranked offense, averaging 337.5 yards per game. As you may have heard, the Badgers are the No. 1 defense in the land and they only give up 173.7 yards per game. This game might not be pretty for whoever plays quarterback for Illinois.
One of the only categories where Illinois could be considered to “have an advantage” is on kick returns where they are No. 20 in the country. The only problem is...Zach Hintze doesn’t allow anyone to return a kick on him.
How to watch/listen
TV: BTN, 11:00 a.m. CT, Kevin Kugler, Matt Millen, Rick Pizzo
Streaming: FOX Sports app; FOXSports.com
Radio: Badger Sports Network (iHeartRadio), Satellite: Sirius 83 or XM 83, Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas, Mark Tauscher, Patrick Herb
Stadium: Memorial Stadium
Weather: Champaign, Ill.
Line: Wisconsin -31
Fun facts (according to the media guides)
- Paul Chryst has never lost to Illinois (4-0) and Lovie Smith has never beaten Wisconsin (0-3).
- Wisconsin and Illinois played in the final tie game in FBS history, closing the 1995 season with a 3-3 draw on Nov. 25 in Madison. Overtime was introduced the following season. You’re welcome, rest of the country.
- A win Saturday would give Wisconsin a third active win streak of 10-plus games over a Big Ten opponent. The Badgers have won 13 straight over Purdue and 10 straight over Indiana.
- Wisconsin’s current nine-game winning streak against Illinois is the longest by either team in series history.
- Illinois head coach Lovie Smith served as linebackers coach at Wisconsin in 1987, which was UW head coach Paul Chryst’s senior season as a player at UW. The Badgers went 3-8 that year, including a 16-14 loss to Illinois in Champaign.
- Wisconsin’s roster features seven Illinois natives: TE Jack Eschenbach (Downers Grove), OLB Izayah Green-May (Bolingbrook), ILB Mike Maskalunas (Long Grove), ILB Maema Njongmeta (Buffalo Grove), WR Kendric Pryor (Hazel Crest), ILB Jack Sanborn (Deer Park) and CB Cristian Volpentesta (Highland Park).
- Wisconsin will go 50 days between road games by the time it kicks off at Illinois, a stretch that included five consecutive home games and an idle week.