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What you need to know when Wisconsin takes on Akron in the Badgers' home opener

How to watch or listen to Wisconsin's home opener against Akron at Camp Randall Saturday and what you need to know.

Akron (1-0, 0-0 MAC) vs. No.10 Wisconsin (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Saturday, September 10 at 2:36 p.m. CT

Stadium – Camp Randall Stadium (80,321/FieldTurf)

Television – Big Ten Network (Matt Devlin and Stanley Jackson)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas, Mark Tauscher). Sirius 112/XM 195

Series – Wisconsin leads 2-0 (Wisconsin leads 2-0 in Madison)

Last Meeting - Wisconsin won, 38-17, on August 30, 2008 in Madison

Series Notes

Saturday’s matchup with Akron will be Wisconsin’s ninth meeting with a Mid-American Conference team over the last 11 seasons (UW faced UMass in 2013, when UMass was a member of the MAC).

The Badgers are 30-2 all-time against teams currently in the Mid-American Conference — with both losses coming at Camp Randall Stadium in 1988, Paul Chryst’s senior season at UW. The Badgers fell to Western Michigan, 24-14, in their season opener and dropped a 19-17 decision to Northern Illinois a week later. An independent at the time, NIU was not a member of the MAC in 1988. Wisconsin went on to finish 1-10 that season. 

Chryst’s brother, Rick Chryst, served as commissioner of the MAC from 1999- 2009.

Former UW offensive line coach and Akron alum (1952-55) Mario Russo (Barberton, Ohio) will participate in the coin toss with Akron.

Wisconsin has five players from the state of Ohio on its roster– freshman S Seth Currens (Pickerington/Central HS), sophomore OL Michael Deiter (Curtice/Genoa HS), freshman LB Griffin Grady (Dublin/Coffman HS), freshman DE Kraig Howe (Dayton/Archbishop Alter HS) and senior WR Robert Wheelwright [Columbus/Walnut Ridge HS).

Head coach Terry Bowden has faced Chryst across the sidelines once before. During the 2014 season, the Zips claimed a 21-10 win at Pittsburgh, coached by Chryst.

Seven of Akron’s 2016 opponents— Wisconsin (Holiday), Marshall (St. Petersburg), Appalachian State (Camellia), Western Michigan (Bahamas), Toledo (Boca Raton), Bowling Green (GoDaddy), and Ohio (Camellia)— participated in bowls in 2015.

Ten of Wisconsin’s opponents appeared in bowls – LSU (Texas), Akron (Potato), Georgia State (Cure), Michigan State (Cotton), Michigan (Citrus), Ohio State (Fiesta), Iowa (Rose), Nebraska (Foster Farms), Northwestern (Outback), Minnesota (Quick Lane).

Wisconsin Notes to Consider

The Badgers seek their 36th-consecutive win in a nonconference home game, which would match Ohio State for the sixth-longest streak in NCAA history.

Wisconsin is in search of its 21st-consecutive win in a home opener. The Badgers look to continue a streak that has seen UW win its first home game in every season since a 43-7 loss to Colorado on Sept. 2, 1995.

In defeating No. 5 LSU, Wisconsin became the first Big Ten team to score a regular-season win over a non-conference foe ranked in the top five since Michigan topped No. 2 Notre Dame in 2006.

With 1,803 rushing yards in his career, Clement needs 197 to become the 16th player in school history to rush for 2,000 yards.

Bart Houston was the first Badgers quarterback to make his first career start as a senior since Scott Kavanaugh on Sept. 4, 1999. Kavanaugh went 8-for-12 for 102 yards in a 49-10 win over Murray State at Camp Randall.

Akron Notes to Consider

Akron is 1-25 all-time against top 25 opponents, including 0-24 on the road. The Zips lone win was a 34-20 decision over No.25 Marshall in 2002.

After winning at least five games in three consecutive seasons, including eight wins a year ago and a bowl victory, the Zips have been selected to finish third in the MAC East in 2016 by the media and the coaches.

In his fifth season at Akron, head coach Terry Bowden is the dean of the Mid-American Conference coaches with the most career wins (160). Nationally, Bowden ranks sixth among active coaches in career wins.

Junior QB Thomas Woodson returns to lead the Zips for the third consecutive season. Last fall, he was the Zips’ top quarterback, going 162-of-307 for 2,202 yards and 16 touchdowns in 10 starts. He finished second in rushing with 600 yards and three touchdowns on 136 carries as well as a 14-yard TD reception. Woodson stands No. 12 on the career (3,008 yards) passing yards list.

The graduation of team offensive MVP Conor Hundley and Donnell Alexander left some big shoes to fill in the backfield. Senior RB Warren Ball joins the Zips after completing his degree at Ohio State. Ball had 189 yards on 41 carries as a Buckeye. In his Zips’ debut, Ball led all rushers with 110 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. His five-yard TD run in the fourth quarter was the first TD of his collegiate career.

Noted as the second-least experienced line in the country, the Zips will be anchored by sophomore RG Kyle Ritz (Willoughby, Ohio), who started five games at right tackle as a true freshman, and junior C LaVonne Gauthney (Reynoldsburg, Ohio), who started three games last fall.


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