What: No. 14 Wisconsin (5-0 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) at Northwestern (2-2, 0-1)
When: 11 a.m. Central, Saturday, Oct. 8
Site: Ryan Field (47,130, grass)
Broadcasts: ESPN live TV coverage; 45-city Wisconsin Radio Network live radio coverage.
Northwestern versus Wisconsin: Wisconsin is 54-31-5 against the Wildcats, including a 24-12 win at Madison last year, when quarterback John Stocco was 13 of 21 for 178 yards and Wisconsin's defense held Northwestern scoreless until the final seconds of the third quarter. The last time the teams met in Evanston, however, was a much different scenario. Wisconsin, then 6-2 overall and ranked No. 20 in the country two weeks after knocking off defending national champion Ohio State, came crashing to the ground in the form of an embarrassing 16-7 loss at Northwestern Oct. 25, 2003.
Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez is in his 16th and final season at UW. He has a 113-70-4 career record, including a 62-57-3 mark in conference games.
Alvarez all-time versus Northwestern
|Oct. 20, 1990||Ryan Field||Northwestern 44, Wisconsin 34|
|Nov. 23, 1991||Camp Randall||Wisconsin 32, Northwestern 14|
|Nov. 21, 1992||Ryan Field||Northwestern 27, Wisconsin 25|
|Oct. 9, 1993||Camp Randall||No. 21 Wisconsin 53, Northwestern 14|
|Oct. 8, 1994||Ryan Field||No. 24 Wisconsin 46, Northwestern 14|
|Oct. 21, 1995||Ryan Field||No. 11 Northwestern 35, No. 24 Wisconsin 0|
|Oct. 19, 1996||Camp Randall||No. 14 Northwestern 34, Wisconsin 30|
|Oct. 4, 1997||Ryan Field||Wisconsin 26, Northwestern 25|
|Sept. 26, 1998||Camp Randall||No. 14 Wisconsin 38, Northwestern 7|
|Oct. 30, 1999||Ryan Field||No. 11 Wisconsin 35, Northwestern 19|
|Sept. 23, 2000||Camp Randall||Northwestern 47, No. 7 Wisconsin 44 (2OT)|
|Oct. 25, 2003||Ryan Field||Northwestern 16, No. 20 Wisconsin 7|
|Oct. 23, 2004||Camp Randall||No. 6 Wisconsin 24, Northwestern 12|
Northwestern coach Randy Walker is in his 16th season as a head coach, and seventh at the helm of the Wildcats, Walker is 91-78-5 overall (Northwestern, Miami of Ohio). He is 32-43 in his seventh year at Northwestern and 19-30 in Big Ten play.
Wisconsin season to date (links to BadgerNation.com coverage)
Northwestern season to date (links to Fox Sports Game Trax coverage)
- Wisconsin is one of just 12 undefeated teams remaining in Division I-A, and one of only five teams that enter this weekend 5-0. The others are Penn State, Alabama, California and Virginia.
- Wisconsin's Brandon Williams is third in the nation in kickoff returning (35.3 yards per return) and sixth in punt returning (19.5). Northwestern's Marquice Cole leads the nation with an incredible 30.1 yards per punt return average.
- Williams is closing in on UW's all-time receptions record. He needs just 14 more catches to top Lee Evans' career record 175.
- Williams is ranked ninth in the nation and third in the Big Ten in all-purpose yardage (162.8 per game). UW tailback Brian Calhoun is second in the league and fifth in the country at 178.8 yards per game.
- NU linebacker Tim McGarigle has 434 career tackles, including 45 in four games this season. He needs 70 more to establish a new Wildcat career record.
- The Badgers are 14-3 since the beginning of the 2004 season, the best record in the Big Ten and the ninth-best mark in the nation during that span. Southern California leads that list at a perfect 17-0.
- Junior quarterback John Stocco has been UW's starter for all 17 games the past two seasons. He needs just 23 passing yards to reach 3,000 in his career.
- NU signal-caller Brett Basanez is in his fourth year as a starter and is rewriting his school's record books. Already the Wildcats' career passing yardage leader by a nearly 500-yard margin, he needs just 16 passing yards to reach 8,000 in his college tenure. Other career milestones are within reach. He needs nine pass completions to reach 700; 304 yards total offense to make 9,000; and three wins to set a new NU career record for a starter with 20.
- Northwestern's opponents have been penalized more per game (85.5 yards) than any other team in the Big Ten. Wisconsin ranks second in that category, with opponents averaging 61.6 yards in penalties per game.
- The Wildcats have allowed only four sacks all season, the third fewest in the Big Ten. Wisconsin's 16 sacks is tied with Ohio State for the most in the league.
- UW is second in the conference in time of possession at 34:17 per contest; Northwestern is third at 32:46.
- UW's Brian Calhoun is second in the Big Ten in rushing, at 145.4 yards per game. NU's Tyrell Sutton is third at 132.0 per game.
- Basanez is second in the league at 256.5 passing yards per game; Stocco is ninth at 171.0
- The Badgers' rush defense is second in the conference at 77.4 yards per game allowed, while the Wildcats are 10th, allowing 204.2 per game.
- Wisconsin and Northwestern have each won or tied for the Big Ten title in three of the last 12 seasons.
Preseason Northwestern coverage