Looking to rebound after the pounding from Ohio State, the Wisconsin Badgers look to bounce back against The Illinois Fighting Illini. Kick off is scheduled for 11 AM on BTN. Here are the keys to victory tomorrow.
Can The Defense Respond?
I would imagine the defense is not happy about what happened with Ohio State. To score 52 points against one of the best defenses int he country is shocking and impressive. I have no doubt Jim Leonhard had his defense hear about it all week, The leaders on the defense such as Keeanu Benton and Nick Herbig can’t be sitting well with the result either.
This is a defense that prides itself on being physical and getting off the field on third down. I have no doubt they will return to form against the Illini. Look for this to be a get right game and for the defense to respond to the challenge.
Get The Passing Game Back In Rhythm
You won’t win on the road when your quarterback throws for less than 100 yards. Granted Graham Metz was under consistent pressure the entire game and didn’t look conformable in the pocket. However, this is a unit that will also look to rebound. This is a young offense overall and I’m sure the pressure in Ohio Stadium played a role. Mertz looked impressive until last week so expect the junior signal caller to get his receivers involved early.
I’m also not worried about the offense responding either. They look just as big of a punch as the defense did. This is a scrappy athletic core and I believe they’ve been biting at the chomp all week to get back on the field. The passing game doesn’t have to be incredible, but it does have to be competent.
Wipe The Slate Clean
This is as bad of a loss I can think of since 59-0 in the 2013 Big Ten Championship. In all honesty, this team had a very slim chance getting the upset last week. After Jack Nelson was ruled out, it got even slimmer.
How does a young and inexperienced team respond from this? Most of these players probably didn’t experience a loss this bad in their playing careers. I think we’ll find out early if this team is able to respond and get back on track. Sometimes a beat down like this is what a team needs to go on a run. The Badgers don’t have much room for error. Can they go on a run like they did last year beginning with the Illini?
I think that Wisconsin bounces back in a major way. In the Paul Chryst era, following a loss the Badgers seem to always put it behind them and respond in a good way. Being back at home, I’ve got the Badgers taking down Illinois 28-10- Griffin Gamble
Not only is Wisconsin looking to respond, but I bet they are not thrilled either only being seven point favorites at home against a team that lost to Indiana early in the year. I think a lot of questions still need to be answered about this team. Can they pass the ball when needed? Can their front seven generate pressure consistently?
One thing I know about a Paul Chryst team is that they respond back from losses. There’s still a ton of good leadership on this team and I think they’re ready for the challenge.
This is an Illini team that looks to have a competent passing game to go along with one of the best running backs in the Big Ten. As I mentioned earlier this week, the Badgers have to contain Chase Brown and make Illinois win on the arm of Tommy Devito. I also like the young receiver duo of Isaiah Williams and Pat Bryant.
With former Badger coach Brett Bielema coming back to Madison, I think he would like nothing more than to stick it to his former team, While it’t a coaching story line, it’s still worth monitoring.
At the end of the day, I just think Wisconsin is a better team. I think the Illini is getting an angry Wisconsin who had their identity taken away. Look for the Badgers to establish the run right away and early pressure to make the Illini offense uncomfortable. An angry Wisconsin team is my favorite Wisconsin team.- Dylan Buboltz
Wisconsin- 28 Illinois- 17
Follow me on Twitter @DylanBuboltz and follow us @WiSportsHeroics for more great content. To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here! Also, check out our merch store for some amazing WSH merchandise!