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Wisconsin Football Revenge Game Preview: Illinois Fighting Illini

The last time Wisconsin football played Illinois, they had a new head coach on Monday…



Wisconsin Badgers football vs. Illinois
Oct 1, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; The Wisconsin Badgers line up for a play during the first quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It was a tough day for the Wisconsin Football offense on Saturday. They were only able to put up six points in a 15-6 defeat to the Iowa Hawkeyes. The path to the Big Ten West is more difficult now as the Badgers no longer control their own destiny.

Up next for Wisconsin is a road trip to Champaign to take on Illinois.

The Badgers will be without quarterback Tanner Mordecai after he broke his hand near the end of the first half Saturday. It will now be redshirt freshman Brayden Locke moving forward. Here is an early preview of the Illini.

This Is Not the Same Illinois Defense From Last Year

The Illini had a fantastic defense a season ago. Wisconsin football was embarrassed at home 34-10 by this defense. It was led by Devon Witherspoon, who is now having a great rookie year with the Seattle Seahawks.

However, the departures of players and defensive coordinator Ryan Walters to Purdue has taken it’s toll on the defense. The Illini are giving up just over 28 point a game. This includes teams like Florida Atlantic and Toledo.

As a team, the Illini have a minus four turnover ration, They are are struggling to force turnovers which was something they were good at a season ago.

I know the Wisconsin Badgers will be bringing in their backup quarterback, but I think this offense can still put up some points this weekend.

A lot Falls on Quarterback Luke Altmyer

Illinois has a new quarterback this season in Luke Altmyer. He has the potential to be dangerous as he is threat with his legs. Anytime you have a mobile quarterback at the college level, it can be a pain for most defensive coordinators.

The Illini only have eight rushing touchdowns on the season. Altmyer has three of them and leads the team in carries with 67. Despite the only three yards a rush average, Illinois asks him to do a lot whether it’s a designed run or not.

With his arm, Altmyer has been average at best.

He’s thrown for eight more touchdowns, but has nine interceptions and a 63% completion percentage. I think the Wisconsin Football defense has a chance to force some turnovers. The Badgers need to as they will be relied on for the foreseeable future.

A Trap Game for Wisconsin Football

Illinois is struggling at 2-4, but they are coming off a nice 27-24 road win at Maryland on Saturday.

This team won’t fold to the Badgers. With former Wisconsin Football head coach Bret Bielema at the helm for the Illini (and old friend Jim Leonhard working as an analyst), this is always a game they will have circled on the schedule.

I don’t want to look ahead especially now, but a huge game against Ohio State awaits the Wisconsin Badgers next week.

They can’t overlook Illini. After the loss to Iowa Saturday, Wisconsin football has little room for error left. They can’t even be thinking about the Buckeyes this week. If the Badgers can’t be Illinois, then next week doesn’t really matter. If they have any shot to take back the West division, this is a game you have to win.

Locke-d and Loaded, Wisconsin Football Turns to Freshman QB

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Dylan began as a staff writer for Badger Notes in August 2023. He has written about Wisconsin Badger Football and Men's Basketball since May 2020. Dylan's work has been featured on Yard Barker, NewsBreak, and Bleacher Reports