Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Illini bring next task for aching Badgers

[media-credit name=’JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photo’ align=’alignright’ width=’336′]FB47_JS[/media-credit]

Last year when Wisconsin played Illinois, the Fighting Illini broke the Badgers five-game season-opening winning streak. This year, Wisconsin is hoping a much different streak will come to an end.

Losers of four straight games, UW will take the field at Camp Randall Stadium Saturday hoping to notch its first Big Ten victory of the season and its first win since Sept. 13.


“[A] lot of people on this team ain’t used to losing like this,” linebacker Jaevery McFadden said. “From high school to pee-wee, I’m not used to losing games like this, but we still got our heads high — we’re still working hard.”

Wisconsin (3-4, 0-4 Big Ten) has been blown out in its last two games, losing by a combined score of 86-23 at the hands of Penn State and Iowa.

“We’re in a skid right now,” linebacker Jonathon Casillas said. “We’ve got to get out of it and the No. 1 thing we have to do is forget the week before.”

In practice this week head coach Bret Bielema tried to remind the team what it’s shown itself to be capable of at times this season.

“[Bielema] ran through highlights of people making good plays all season,” McFadden said. “That just let us know that when you think about it, we’re a heck of a 3-4 football team.”

UW started the season by winning its first three games including a road win against then No. 21 Fresno State.

“It’s just tough when you know you’re not playing up to your ability,” Casillas said.

“That kinda sucks; we don’t have the focus to play as good as we can.”

Now the Badgers will try to put together a complete effort to snap the team’s first four-game losing streak since the 1996 season.

“To start off the way we have, obviously the only thing we can do is move forward,” Bielema said.

In trying to do so against Illinois, Wisconsin will have its hands full.

“Illinois is definitely a hard team to play,” McFadden said. “You’ve got to be fundamentally sound; you’ve got to tackle well.”

Last season, the Badgers went into Champaign ranked No. 5 in the nation, but they were upset 31-26 by the then-unranked, but eventual Rose Bowl participant Illini.

The Illini (4-3, 2-2 Big Ten) return quarterback Juice Williams who is a threat both through the air and on the ground.

“With the athletes they got they can do a lot of different things,” McFadden said, “with Juice and [wide receiver Arrelious] Benn and the two running backs they got.”

Against the Illini’s spread attack, the focus for the Badgers will be one of the things that has haunted them all season long — making tackles and finishing plays.

“The spread is about getting somebody one-on-one and making them make an open-field tackle,” Casillas said. “If we tackle well I think we’ll be successful this weekend.”

“We’ve had a lot of missed tackles, so we’ve been focusing on tackling,” McFadden said.

Wisconsin has already played several teams that run spread offense variations this season.

“I think we’re a lot more familiar with it than we were last year,” Casillas said.

Although just over a month ago the Badgers were ranked in the nation’s top 10, the team now finds itself on the verge of a five-game losing streak. As nice as revenge would be for last season’s defeat at this point, it takes a backseat to just getting back on track.

“We just want to go out there and win,” defensive back Allan Langford said. “We want to win a football game.”

Quarterback Dustin Sherer, who started his first career game last weekend against Iowa, is expected to start against Illinois. It is unclear whether running back P.J. Hill, who suffered an injury against the Hawkeyes, will be able to play this weekend.

John Clay is expected to step in should Hill be unavailable. Wisconsin hasn’t had a rusher break the 100-yard mark in any of the team’s four losses.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *