Wisconsin/Illinois pregame notes

The Badgers and Illini kick things off at 1 p.m. Central

What: Illinois (2-2 overall, 0-1 Big Ten) at No. 20 Wisconsin (4-0, 1-0)
When: 1 p.m. Central, Saturday, Oct. 2
Site: Camp Randall Stadium (81,318, FieldTurf)
Broadcasts: No live TV coverage; 46-city Wisconsin Radio Network live radio coverage; Wisconsin Pubic Television tape-delayed broadcast at 10 p.m. ESPN Broadband carrying the game live in some markets.

Wisconsin results to date
Home team in italics

Sept. 4—Wisconsin 34, Central Florida 6
Sept. 11—Wisconsin 18, UNLV 3
Sept. 18—Wisconsin 9, Arizona 7
Sept. 25—Wisconsin 16, Penn State 3

Illinois results to date
Home team in italics

Sept. 4—Illinois 52, Florida A&M 13
Sept. 11—UCLA 35, Illinois 17
Sept. 11—Illinois 30, Western Michigan 27
Sept. 11—Purdue 38, Illinois 30

Illini versus Wisconsin: The Illini lead the all-time series 35-30-7. The series is knotted up at 16-16-4 in Madison. Illinois won 11 of 12 meetings from 1981-92 but the Badgers have gone 6-2-1 since 1993. Illinois' wins during that span came in 2001 and 2002. Wisconsin won 38-20 in Champaign last year.

Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez is in his 15th season at UW. He has a 103-67-4 career record.

Illinois coach Ron Turner is in his eight year with the Illini. He is 41-55.

  • Wisconsin's opponents are averaging just 54.3 plays per game, the lowest average in the nation. Of opponents' 50 drives this season, 22 have resulted in a three-and-out.

  • The Badgers last three opponents have been held to a combined 4-for-37 on third-down conversions.

  • Wisconsin has not started 5-0 overall and 2-0 in Big Ten play since winning the Rose Bowl in the 1998 season.

  • The 157 yards the Badgers allowed last week was the fifth-lowest total in school history.

  • Free safety Jim Leonhard's five passes defended last week were tied for the second most in school history. Leonhard also notched his 19th career interception, putting him just two off Jammar Fletcher's school record.

  • As a punt returner, Leonhard is just 47 yards from breaking Bruce Branch's Big Ten career yardage record (1,171).

  • Wisconsin's opponents have run the ball 121 times this season but only two of those attempts have gone for more than 20 yards.

  • The Badgers rank last in the Big Ten in scoring offense (19.2 points per game), last in passing offense (141.8 yards per game) and sixth in rushing offense (162.8) but lead the Big Ten in time of possession (34:33). They are fifth in the conference offensively on third-down conversions and No. 1 defensively in that category.

  • Among starting quarterbacks in the Big Ten, Wisconsin signal caller John Stocco is ranked last in completion percentage (48.4), yards per game (140.2) and passer rating (102.13). Stocco is officially 12th on the passer rating list, behind two Illinois quarterbacks: backup Brad Bower is 11th at 118.6 and starter Jon Beutjer is third at 150.6.

  • The Badgers lead the Big Ten in sacks (13) and are third in sacks allowed (2). Wisconsin's defensive line will be starting its combined 102nd career game Saturday. Illinois offensive right tackle Bucky Babcock will start his 41st game of his career Saturday.

  • Illinois is averaging 438.3 yards per game offensively, which would be the second-highest mark on the school's all-time list.

  • Illini tailbacks E.B. Halsey and Pierre Thomas are ranked seventh and eighth in the Big Ten in rushing, respectively.

  • Illinois is second in the Big Ten in rushing (213.8). The team has not finished a season averaging more than 200 yards per game rushing since 1975.

  • The Illini are ninth in the Big Ten in rushing defense (156.5) and tenth in pass defense (283.5).

  • Illini punter Steve Weatherford set a school record and was 12th in the nation last season by averaging 44.5 yards per punt last year. He is averaging 41.2 this season.

  • Illinois boasts individual punt returns of 40 and 22 yards and possesses the 11th-ranked kick returner in the nation in Pierre Thomas (31.2 yard average). Wisconsin has not allowed a single punt return yard all season and has allowed a kick return of more than 20 yards just three times, with a long allowed of 30.

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