No.12 Western Michigan (13-0, 8-0 MAC) vs. No.8 Wisconsin (10-3, 7-2 Big Ten)
Date/Time – Monday, Janaury 2 at 12:01 p.m. CT
Stadium – AT&T Stadium (71,998/Field Turf)
Television – ESPN (Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard and Allison Williams)
Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas). National Radio (Brad Sham, Rod Gilmore, Quint Kessenich)
Series – Wisconsin leads 3-1 (First meeting in a neutral site)
Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 19-7, on Aug. 31, 2010 in Madison
This will be the third encounter between the teams in which the Badgers are ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll. They were ranked No. 7 in 1963 (a 41-0 win) and No. 4 in 2000 (a 19-7 win).
Wisconsin owns a 31-2 record against the current membership of the Mid-American Conference, with both losses coming in 1988 — including that 24-14 setback to Western Michigan in the Badgers’ season opener. Paul Chryst was a senior on the UW football team.
Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck was part of the Northern Illinois squad that was downed by the 18th-ranked Badgers, 24-21, at Camp Randall Stadium in 2002. Fleck filled in as the Huskies’ punt returner that day, recording six fair catches.
Current UW strength and conditioning coach Ross Kolodziej recorded a safety in the teams’ last meeting in 2000, tackling Western Michigan QB Jeff Welsh in the end zone to provide the final margin of 19-7.
Wisconsin Director of Player Personnel and External Operations Henry Mason was an assistant coach at Western Michigan from 1991-94 before joining the Badgers’ staff. Mason coached wide receivers at Wisconsin from 1995 to 2007.
Wisconsin TE Troy Fumagalli and Western Michigan DB Austin Guido were teammates at Waubonsie Valley (Ill.) High School.
Wisconsin P Connor Allen and Western Michigan OL Mike Caliendo were teammates at Brookfield (Wis.) East High School.
Wisconsin Notes to Consider
UW is just the third member of the Big Ten Conference to appear in the Cotton Bowl, joining Ohio State (1986 season) and Michigan State (2014, ’15 seasons). The Buckeyes knocked off Texas A&M, while the Spartans followed up a win over Baylor with a College Football Playoff semifinal loss to Alabama.
While Wisconsin is set to make its first appearance in the Cotton Bowl, the game is well-known in at least one Badger’s household. The famed 1979 “Chicken Soup Game” that saw quarterback Joe Montana rally Notre Dame for a 35-34 win over Houston turned when Steve Cichy recovered a blocked punt and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown. Cichy’s son, Jack, is a junior inside linebacker for the Badgers.
UW has won 10 of its last 12 games away from Camp Randall Stadium, dating back to 2015. Both losses (at Michigan and vs. Penn State) came to teams also playing in New Year’s Six bowls.
The combined cumulative record for Wisconsin’s 14 opponents this season is 124-60 (.674). Seven of those opponents enter bowl season ranked in the AP Top 25 (No. 2 Ohio State, No. 5 Penn State, No. 6 Michigan, No. 12 Western Michigan, No. 19 LSU, No. 21 Iowa and No. 24 Nebraska).
Senior tailback Corey Clement has rushed for 100-plus yards in seven of the Badgers’ last eight games, averaging 123.1 yards per game over that stretch (dating back to Oct. 15). Among players from power five programs, only Texas’ D’Onta Foreman (204.7) has averaged more rushing yards per game over that span.
Wisconsin has allowed opponents an average of just 1.03 points per possession, the fourth-best mark in the FBS this season behind only Michigan (0.78), Alabama (0.81) and Ohio State (0.86).
Western Michigan Notes to Consider
Quarterback Zach Terrell and receiver Corey Davis have connected for 50 touchdowns, the second most in FBS history. Overall, Davis has caught 51 TDs in his career with Terrell making up 98 percent of them.
Western Michigan has piled on the points in the first 13 games, totaling 566, most in program history in a single season. This year’s average of 43.8 points per game is the most in the MAC and eighth most in the country.
Terrell is one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the country, ranking second in the nation in active career passing yards with 11,947. His 95 career touchdown passes are the most in the nation and his 65.6 career completion percentage is good for fifth among active QBs.
For the year, the Broncos are plus-19 in turnover margin, best in the country. The Broncos have 15 interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries.