After losing their hold on the Big Ten West race and their starting quarterback, Wisconsin looks to bounce back on the road as the Badgers visit Illinois.
The Fighting Illini came into Camp Randall and beat Wisconsin a year ago, and will look to repeat their success of a year ago on Saturday.
Wisconsin is without Tanner Mordecai, who broke a bone in his throwing hand last Saturday, and will put the keys in the hands of Braedyn Locke. Locke has never started a collegiate game and got his first action last week in relief of Mordecai.
Here is how our BadgersWire staff sees it all playing out:
The Badgers can’t catch a break this year with injuries, losing guys before the year, their change-of-pace running back Chez Mellusi (leg) in September and now their starting quarterback Tanner Mordecai (hand) last week in their 15-6 loss to Iowa.
Wisconsin won’t back down though and redshirt freshman Braedyn Locke will step up big time this week versus former Badgers’ head coach Bret Bielema’s Fighting Illini.
Back’s against the wall in the Big Ten West, Luke Fickell’s squad will live to fight another day!
“Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” ~ Dylan Thomas
And the light is still on for the Badgers baby!
Final Score: Wisconsin 20, Illinois 10
It should go without saying that Wisconsin needs to win this week. A loss would be a season-ender, especially with Ohio State looming next week. But Wisconsin should win this game, even with backup quarterback Braedyn Locke under center.
Illinois has turnover issues, can’t protect QB Luke Altmyer and isn’t nearly as talented on defense as it was last year. I think Wisconsin wins narrowly, mainly because I don’t want to prepare for the disaster scenario a loss would be.
Final Score: Wisconsin 17, Illinois 13
Wisconsin’s run game finally has to lead them to a victory. It won’t feel like old school Badger football because it isn’t, but the formula for a win can still be the same on Saturday.
Braedyn Locke has to take care of the football above all else, but shouldn’t have to go win the game against an Illinois team that Wisconsin can beat without a big-time performance from under center.
Wisconsin’s defense has played better in recent weeks, and that trend has to continue. Give me the Badgers close. Whoever has the ball last loses.