Here are some final game notes from Wisconsin’s win over Illinois on Friday night.
- Redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz tied Tanner McEvoy for the the most consecutive pass completions in a single game, with 17. McEvoy set the record in 2014, against Western Michigan.
- 17 consecutive completions is also the third-longest streak in a Big Ten conference football game.
Chryst compliments Graham Mertz's poise: You never know quite how someone is going to react in their first start, but I thought he was himself.— Benjamin Worgull (@TheBadgerNation) October 24, 2020
- Mertz finished 20-21, for 248 passing yards and five touchdowns. His 95 percent completion percentage is the best in program history, besting Alex Hornibrook’s previous high of 94.7 percent
Graham Mertz?— BOOky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) October 24, 2020
- Mertz’s five touchdown passes tied the highest single-game total in school history, matching Darrell Bevell (Nevada, 1993) and Jim Sorgi (Michigan State, 2003)
- Tight end Jake Ferguson became the first tight end in program history to score multiple touchdowns in a game since Jacob Pedersen did so in 2011. Ferguson finished the game with three receiving touchdowns.
Wisconsin TE Jake Ferguson on QB Graham Mertz after the Illinois game— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) October 24, 2020
"First game, golly, kid can play. He's in there cracking jokes. We ran the same play four times in a row and he was just like, 'Guess what it is fellas?'...it's good to see he has that confidence."
- With tonight’s win, Paul Chryst moved into fourth place in school history, with 53 wins, passing Mike Bruhn (1956-66), who had 52 wins.
- Under Chryst, Wisconsin is 53-16 (.768) overall and 35-10 against Big Ten opponents and 26-5 against the Big Ten West Division.
- Wisconsin allowed 315 total yards to Illinois in its 24-23 loss in 2019, but only 218 total yards in the 2020 opener.
- The Badgers held Illinois to just 218 yards (131 rushing, 87 passing) and just 8 first downs. Those numbers are the fewest by a UW Big Ten opponent since Michigan State totaled just 149 and 7 first downs against UW last season.
- Wisconsin held Illinois to 2-10 on third down and 0-3 on fourth down.
- DIII transfer, Andy Vujnovich punted four times in his Badgers debut, totalling 184 yards (46.0 average), including a 60-yard punt, which was his first of the night.
- Wisconsin won its 8th consecutive home game, dating to last season.
- UW tallied its most points in a Big Ten opener since beating Nebraska 48-17 in 2011.
- The Badgers held Illinois to just 218 yards and just 8 first downs. Those numbers are the fewest by a UW Big Ten opponent since Michigan State totaled just 149 and 7 first downs against UW last season.
- Wisconsin dominated the time of possession by a margin of 43:28 to 16:32. That’s UW’s most lopsided total since owning a 44:31 to 15:29 advantage over Minnesota in 2004.
- The Badgers finished a perfect 6-for-6 in red zone opportunities, scoring five touchdowns and one field goal.
- Wisconsin won its home opener for the 25th consecutive season, a run that dates back to 1996. Only Florida (31) owns a longer active streak among FBS teams.
- The Badgers claimed a win in their season-opening contest for the 5th straight year.
- The win marked Wisconsin’s first season-opening victory over a Big Ten opponent since a 21-14 triumph over No. 1-ranked Michigan on Sept. 12, 1981 (which also was UW’s last opener vs. a conference opponent at Camp Randall).
- UW claimed its 8th straight victory over Illinois at Camp Randall Stadium, dating to 2004.
- Overall, Wisconsin has won 10 of its last 11 (and 14 of its last 16) meetings with the Illini
All fun facts courtesy of the UW Athletic Department