MADISON, Wis. – The next hurdle for Wisconsin (7-2, 4-2) in the race for the Big Ten West? A homecoming battle against Illinois (3-6, 2-4).
The Badgers are in a three-way tie for the top spot in the West and need a win over the Fighting Illini to stay in the hunt for a trip to Indianapolis and the Big Ten championship game.
Wisconsin leads the all-time series between the two teams, 39-36-7. The Badgers have also won the last six games against the Illini dating to 2008. It matches the longest win streak by either team since the series began in 1946.
Wisconsin vs. Illinois game time, details
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT kickoff
Date: Saturday, Nov. 12
Location: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis.
Weather: 50 degrees and sunny at kickoff
The line: Wisconsin is a 26.5-point favorite
What TV channel broadcasts Wisconsin vs. Illinois?
ESPN2 is televising the matchup.
How can I watch Wisconsin vs. Illinois online?
WatchESPN.com will provide a live stream of the game. It is also available on the WatchESPN app.
How can I listen to Wisconsin vs. Illinois on the radio?
You can listen to the game on Sirius 132 and XM 196. Click here for a list of the Wisconsin radio affiliates. Click here for a list of Illinois’ radio affiliates. The TunedIn app provides radio coverage from each team.
Who is calling the game for ESPN2?
Allen Bestwick is handling play-by-play, Mike Bellotti is the analyst and Kris Budden is the sideline reporter.
Wisconsin vs. Illinois keys to the game
Can Illinois become the first team to figure out Wisconsin’s defense?
This seems to be a key every week for Wisconsin’s opponents, yet every week, the defensive code remains intact. Wisconsin is 11th in overall defense and has only allowed 11 rushing touchdowns all season. But this late in the year, there has been plenty of time for the Illini to scout the Badgers’ seemingly impenetrable scheme. If Illinois quarterback Jeff George Jr. and running back Kendrick Foster can find a way through and around Wisconsin’s defensive line, the Badgers, who have been struggling to find consistency on offense, could be in trouble.
Can Wisconsin’s two-quarterback system work?
So far, it’s tough to tell if flip-flopping between redshirt senior Bart Houston and freshman Alex Hornibrook actually works for the Badgers. Yes, they continue to win games that way, but a lot of credit for that success goes to the defense.
As if finding an offensive rhythm isn’t tough enough, Illinois has linebacker Hardy Nickerson to make it even more difficult. The graduate transfer averages 9.4 tackles per game and will surely put some pressure on the Badgers’ two quarterbacks and on their run game.
Winning the mental game
Wisconsin has a lot on the line every game from here on out. One loss and the Badgers’ chance of winning the Big Ten West and appearing in the Big Ten championship game likely vanishes. That postseason possibility could fuel the Badgers and keep momentum on their side, but it could also work to Illinois’ advantage if Wisconsin allows itself to become distracted by the pressure. Not to mention Illinois is coming off a home win against Michigan State, so it will be riding a little momentum of its own.