The No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers (2-0) travel to Evanston, Ill. on Saturday afternoon to take on the No. 19 Northwestern Wildcats (4-0). This is the de facto Big Ten West championship game and one of the biggest games of the day.
Wisconsin has struggled to win in Evanston for, oh, the last forever and the game this afternoon will be a challenge for the Badgers. The undefeated Wildcats have a new quarterback and a new offensive coordinator but they still hang their hat on their stingy defense.
This should be a classic B1G West rock fight, so strap in and prepare for an afternoon of shouting at your television.
How to watch/listen
TV: ABC, 2:30 p.m. CT, Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Molly McGrath, Todd McShay
Radio: Badger Sports Network (iHeartRadio), Satellite: Sirius 83 or XM 83, Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas;
Stadium: Ryan Field
Weather: Evanston, Ill. (cloudy)
Line: Wisconsin -7.5
Fun facts (according to the media guides)
- Saturday’s game marks the first top-20 matchup in the series since No. 8 Wisconsin scored a 37-6 win over No. 1 Northwestern on Nov. 10, 1962.
- Saturday’s contest marks a matchup of the Big Ten’s top defenses, with the Badgers’ unit leading the nation in both points allowed (9.0) and yards allowed (218.5) and the Wildcats ranking second among league teams in both categories.
- Allowing just 11 offensive points through two games, Wisconsin owns the nation’s No. 1 defense. The Badgers surrendered an average of just 89.0 rushing yards in those contests and allowed Illinois and Michigan to complete a combined 43.8% of their passes for an average of 129.5 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
- Since Northwestern snapped the Badgers’ 13-game win streak in the series with a 17-14 triumph in 1985, the rivalry has been largely even. Over the teams’ last 30 meetings, Wisconsin holds a slight 16-14 edge.
- The Badgers have claimed five of the last eight meetings with the Wildcats, dating to 2010, with UW owning a 1-2 record at Ryan Field during that stretch.
- Wisconsin has won five straight meetings with Northwestern when ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press Top 25.
- The last time Wisconsin and Northwestern met as ranked foes, the 20th-rated Wildcats pulled out a 13-7 win over the No. 21 Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium in 2015. JAZZ CAUGHT IT!
- The teams haven’t met as ranked opponents in Evanston since 1995, when the Pat Fitzgerald-led Wildcats scored a 35-0 win en route to claiming the Big Ten title.
- Northwestern defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz was DC at Wisconsin from 2006-07, helping the Badgers finish No. 2 nationally in scoring defense (12.1 ppg) and No. 5 in total defense (253.1 ypg) in 2006. Current UW head coach Paul Chryst was the offensive coordinator of those Badgers teams.
- Northwestern special teams coach Jeff Genyk held the same role at Wisconsin from 2013-14 while also overseeing the Badgers’ tight ends. Genyk’s son, Jake Genyk (Middleton), is the lone Wisconsin native on Northwestern’s roster.
- Wisconsin senior S Collin Wilder and Northwestern senior LB Paddy Fisher were prep teammates at Katy High School, where they led a record-setting defense, contributed to a four-year record of 64-3 and helped secure a pair of Texas Class 6A state championships. Another of their former Katy teammates, Northwestern senior S Travis Whillock, elected to opt out of the 2020 season.
- Wisconsin freshman ILB Malik Reed, Northwestern freshman DB Gunner Maldonado and Northwestern junior RB Drake Anderson attended Chandler (Ariz.) High School. Wisconsin sophomore QB Chase Wolf and Northwestern freshman TE Marshall Lang both attended St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati. Wisconsin junior OLB Izayah Green-May and Northwestern redshirt freshman DB Cameron Mitchell both attended Bolingbrook (Ill.) High School.
- NU is off to its first 4-0 start to a season since 2015 and first 4-0 start in Big Ten play since 1996.
- Northwestern is 5-1 against Wisconsin in the last six meetings at Ryan Field (Dating back to 2003).