Keys to the game: Illinois vs. Wisconsin

Illinois

If it ain’t broke …

Rashard Mendenhall didn’t have a huge game last week but still played extremely well. If he can get through the holes being opened for him by the line and to – and through – the second level, he can greatly help the Illini chances.

Remember Missouri

Wisconsin has a very similar tight end tandem to Missouri’s and a much better running back than the Tigers. Wisconsin’s defense has been a bit suspect at times, and if the Illini defense can stop P.J. Hill and the Badger offense, it should stand a great chance on Saturday.

Wisconsin

Badger the secondary

The Illini secondary showed some poor coverage at times last week, allowing Anthony Morelli to make some big plays. The Badgers’ best chance may be to try to exploit the secondary and stay away from Illinois’ dominant linebacking corps.

Derail the Skokie Swift

The best way for the Badgers to contain the Illini this week is to stop Mendenhall and force Illinois’ Juice Williams to pass. Williams had a subpar game last week, forcing Eddie McGee to come in to spark the offense. Don’t think for a second that Bielema and the Badgers didn’t see this.

History

Saturday’s game between the Illini and Badgers is the 76th meeting between these two charter members of the Big Ten. Illinois holds a 35-33-7 advantage, but Wisconsin has won the last four meetings, including last year’s 30-24 victory. In 1995 these teams played the last tie in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision history – a 3-3 tie in the final game of the season.