After a disappointing start to the season, the No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers (0-1 overall, 0-1 Big Ten) welcome the Eastern Michigan Eagles (1-0 overall, 0-0 MAC) to the friendly confines of Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday night. The Badgers will be looking to right the ship and head into their early season bye week with some momentum.
It was amazing to have fans back in the stadium for the first time in 651 days and hopefully, even though EMU isn’t as sexy a matchup as Penn State, the crowd will bring the same energy on Saturday night.
How to watch/listen
TV: FS1, 6:00 p.m. CT, Dan Hellie and Robert Smith
Streaming: FOX Sports App
Radio: Badger Sports Network (iHeartRadio), Satellite: Sirius 132, XM 196, Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas, Mark Tauscher, Patrick Herb
Stadium: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis.
Weather: Madison, Wis. (hot during the day, cooling down by kickoff)
Line: Wisconsin -26
Fun facts (according to the media guides)
- The Badgers are 3-0 all-time vs. Eastern Michigan, with the teams’ last meeting coming 25 years ago this week — Sept. 7, 1996.
- A win over Eastern Michigan would give UW head coach Paul Chryst victories over all five FBS programs in the state of Michigan.
- UW has won 48 of its last 50 non-conference games at Camp Randall Stadium, dating to 2002.
- Wisconsin owns a 33-2 record against the current membership of the Mid-American Conference.
- The Badgers are in search of the 50th prime-time win in school history, entering Saturday’s contest with a mark of 49-35 in night games.
Nothin' quite like the Camp after dark pic.twitter.com/GNcjoTwiNq— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) September 9, 2021
- EMU has a perfect 3-0 record against Big Ten Conference opponents in its last four seasons of play, the Eagles head to Camp Randall Stadium in search of the program’s first ever top-25 victory.
- 42 of Eastern Michigan’s last 49 games overall have either been a win for the Eagles or a one possession loss.
- The Badgers ran 95 plays in last week’s season opener vs. Penn State, their most in a game since at least 1990 and just the second time during that span that UW has run 90-plus plays. The Badgers’ previous high was 90 plays run vs. Minnesota in 1993.
- Wisconsin’s defense limited Penn State to a total of 50 rushing yards last Saturday. Since Jim Leonhard joined the Badgers’ staff in 2016, UW has held 13 opponents to 50 or fewer rushing yards. Only Georgia (14) and Utah (14) have done so more often in that span.
- Including RB Chez Mellusi, a total of seven players made their Badgers debut in the opener vs Penn State. The other six appeared on special teams units: freshman RB Braelon Allen, sophomore LS Peter Bowden, redshirt freshman S Max Lofy, redshirt freshman ILB Jordan Turner, redshirt freshman OL Trey Wedig and freshman S Hunter Wohler.
- Mellusi logged a 100-yard game in his Badgers debut, racking up a career-high 121 yards on 31 carries and scoring his first UW touchdown on a three-yard run. Mellusi’s 121 rushing yards are the most by a Badger in his debut since P.J. Hill had 130 yards on 22 carries vs. Bowling Green on Sept. 2, 2006.
- Senior WR Danny Davis is four receiving yards away from moving into the No. 21 spot on Wisconsin’s all-time list. TE Jake Ferguson is a mere 43 yards behind Davis. Should be a fun race this season.
- Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst’s older brother, Rick Chryst, served as commissioner of the Mid-American Conference from 1999 to 2009.
- First-year Wisconsin cornerbacks coach Hank Poteat and Eastern Michigan defensive line coach Ben Needham spent two seasons on the same defensive staff at Kent State from 2015-16. Poteat coached the Golden Flashes’ cornerbacks during those seasons, with Needham serving as linebackers coach in 2015 and defensive coordinator in 2016.
- This picture is in EMU’s official game notes and it freaking rules.
- EMU transfer quarterback Ben Bryant (who you may remember as a former Wisconsin commit) had a solid debut game in EMU’s 35-15 win over St. Francis (Pa.) on Sept. 3. He put together a stat line that included 8-of-10 passing for 126 yards (67% of EMU’s total passing yards) and a total quarterback efficiency rating of 185.84.
- A former walk-on who became a key part of one of the nation’s elite defenses during his time as a Wisconsin linebacker, Jack Cichy is Saturday’s honorary captain. The Somerset native earned a scholarship prior to the 2015 season. He went on to be named Defensive MVP of the 2015 Holiday Bowl, aiding the Badgers’ win over USC by logging sacks on three consecutive plays in the second half and earning the nickname “Three-Sack Jack.”
- The members of the UW Athletics Hall of Fame classes of 2020 and 2021 will be honored throughout the game. Notable honorees include Bo Ryan, Blake Geoffrion, Meghan Duggan, Jon Leuer, Mike Wilkinson, Aaron Gibson and Gabe Carimi.