The 3-6 Illinois Fighting Illini will travel to Camp Randall Stadium this weekend to take on the No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers; the crowd should be fired up to cheer their Badgers on to victory. Wisconsin has a record of 7-2, and they’ll be favored in the rest of their regular season games. If they can win out, the Paul Chryst’s team will be sitting pretty for one of the six major bowl games that happen on or around New Year’s Day. To get there, they need to avoid slipping up. Illinois has plans to play spoiler.
Avoid Letting the Illini Believe
The first key to victory for Wisconsin is to get off to a hot start. They cannot afford to have one of their notorious slow starts. Illinois is coming off a big victory over Michigan State in their last game and are looking to keep that momentum going. Every quarter that they allow the Illini to hang around, they will create more belief in the minds of the Illinois players. Getting out to a lead of a couple of touchdowns by halftime would be a great thing.
Run the Ball Down Their Throats
The biggest key to success for the Badgers will be to attack Illinois with the rushing game. This should not prove a difficult task. The Illini are ranked 84th in the nation in rushing defense, giving up an average of 191.9 yards per game to opponents. Wisconsin is averaging 181 rushing yards per game this year. As long as the Badgers are able to find success in the running game against Illinois, they should be able to control the clock and wear down the Illinois defense as the game progresses.
Play Typical Wisconsin Defense
The identity of this year’s Wisconsin team lies squarely on the defensive side of the ball. They are one of the best defenses in the nation. They have only given up more than 400 yards once this year, and that was in an overtime loss against Ohio State. Even Michigan’s vaunted offense was unable to gain 400 yards in a regulation game against the Badgers.
As long as the Badgers play their typically stifling defense, Illinois should find it very difficult to find much offensive success against them. The Wisconsin defenders will want to pay particular attention to Illinois wide receivers Zach Grant and Malik Turner. The pair are the biggest threats on the Illinois offense, combining for five touchdowns and 684 yards on the year.
Let the Camp Randall Crowd Do Its Thing
This weekend is homecoming for Wisconsin, which means that the wild Camp Randall crowd will be even more worked up than usual. The Big Ten Network will be hosting the BTN Tailgate show from Wisconsin on Saturday morning to get them even more pumped up, especially with a New Year’s Bowl game in their grasp. The crowd will make it a nightmare for Illinois every time they have the ball. With the home-field advantage and their top ten defense, Wisconsin should have no trouble avoiding an upset against the Illini.