Five Keys to Victory: Illinois

Junior Montee Ball has already run over one Illinois team this season. This afternoon, Ball and No.15 Wisconsin look to make it two. In their final true road test of the season, the Badgers look for win number nine when it faces Illinois at 11 a.m. Badger Nation gives its keys to victory.

1. Take it to the 'haase

Nathan Scheelhaase and the Illini had a great start to the season, but Illinois has endured a four game losing streak and you don't have to go further than under center to find the reason. After 14 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in their 6-0 start, Scheelhaase has scored only four touchdowns while throwing three interceptions in their four losses. A big reason why is the increase in pressure, as Scheelhaase has been sacked 12 times in the losses.

2. Keep the Ball rolling

Montee Ball already has the Big Ten record for touchdowns, but the Badgers running back has no plans of slowing down. On the other side, the Illini have allowed three 100-yard rushers in the last four weeks. A win in Champaign starts, and most likely keeps going through, number 28.

3. Mercelus defense

Despite allowing a lot of yards on the ground, the Illinois defense has been their strength. The Illini are led by Whitney Mercilus and the outside of the front seven. Mercilus has racked up 12.5 sacks and could make things a little difficult for Russell Wilson.

4. One more for the road

The Badgers have had their fair share of hardship on the road after the back-to-back losses to Michigan State and Ohio State. Last week Wisconsin went to its home away from home and got its first true road win, increasing its record at TCF Bank stadium to 2-0 (sorry Bret, I mean 1-0 twice). This weeks trip to Champaign is the last true road game for Wisconsin, and the opponent won't be quite as bad as the Gophers, but not as good as the Spartans or Buckeyes either. If the Badgers can keep the road momentum up, the team could be dangerous in the postseason.

5. Back in the Heisman race

Russell Wilson's Heisman chances took a major hit after Wisconsin's two game losing streak. The last few weeks, however, have given Wilson an outside shot at the brass stiff arm. Wilson needs some big numbers in the final two games and some memorable performances in the postseason, but a trip to New York is still possible.

Fearless Prediction

Wisconsin has exercised the road demons after dismantling the Gophers. The Badgers should keep that momentum going in Champaign and come out with a win. The Illinois defense is good, but not good enough to stop the juggernaut that is the Wisconsin offense.

Wisconsin 38, Illinois 10


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