The Wisconsin Badgers pulled out of Illinois State on Saturday night for a 38-0 victory inside Camp Randall Stadium.
The win gave Wisconsin a season opener and a strong start to the 2022 season.
After the game, head coach Paul Chryst spoke to local reporters about his team’s performance which featured several big plays.
Here’s a look at some of the contest’s important game notes and five of the best games from Wisconsin’s big win.
- The team captains for the game were quarterback Graham Mertz, linebacker Nick Herbig and nose tackle Keeanu Benton. Joining them as honorary guest captain is former Wisconsin great Travis Frederick.
- Attendance at the match was 73,727.
- Head coach Paul Chryst walked away with victory No. 66, boosting him to third place on Wisconsin’s all-time winning list. He is only two behind Bret Bielema for second place.
- The Badgers now have nine shutouts since 2015. That’s the second-most in college football during that span, behind only Alabama.
- Wisconsin rushed (221) and passed (219) for over 200 yards in the game. The last time the Badgers did that was against Northwestern last season.
- Five real freshmen played for the Badgers against Illinois State. The players who saw the action were: Vinny Anthony (WR), Austin Brown (S), Joe Brunner (OG), Myles Burkett (QB) and Jackson Trudgeon (S).
- Freshman Myles Burkett was the No. 2 quarterback in Game 1, earning snaps with the second-team offense late in the game.
- After struggling in the red zone a season ago, Wisconsin was a perfect 4 of 4 in the red zone. The Badgers had to settle for a basket on one occasion.
- Wisconsin is now 20-5 all-time in night games inside Camp Randall Stadium and has won 26 of its last 27 home openers.
- 11 players started their first matches in the Badgers uniform: Skyler Bell (WR), Vito Calvaruso (K), Clay Cundiff (TE), Ricardo Hallman (CB), Rodas Johnson (DE), Riley Mahlman (RT), Maema Njongmeta (ILB), Jay Shaw (CB), Jordan Turner and Hunter Wohler (FS).
- Outside linebacker Nick Herbig played his fourth game with at least two sacks.
- Safety Preston Zachman had his first career interception against Illinois State, while Vito Calvaruso notched his first career field goal in a collegiate contest.
- Running back Isaac Guerendo had his second career touchdown, while Braelon Allen had his third rush for over 70 yards. Allen also had his ninth career 100-yard game, all of which came in the last 10 games.
- Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz completed 13 consecutive pass attempts during the game and finished with an 88% completion percentage.
- Braelon Allen’s 96-yard rushing touchdown set a new program record, beating James White’s previous long of 93 yards against Indiana in 2013.
- John Torchio’s 100-yard interception return for a touchdown is the longest in program history. He beat Joe Ferguson who had held the record since 2017.
- Wisconsin wide receiver Chimere Dike eclipsed the 100-yard mark in the game. The Badgers haven’t had a player with 100+ yards in a game the entire 2021 season.
- Starting safety Hunter Wohler and right tackle Riley Mahlman each left the game with an injury and did not return.
1. John Torchio’s 100-yard interception return for a touchdown.
John Torchio’s interception in the first quarter was by far the most impactful play of the game. Not only did that stop a long drive at Illinois State, but it also provided a much-needed spark as the team played a little flat in the opening moments. Torchio is aptly nicknamed the “jewel thief” by his teammates due to his ability to make big plays, and he did it again on Saturday night.
2. Braelon Allen takes 96 yards for the touchdown
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Braelon Allen rushed for 148 yards on Saturday, but his best rush came in the second quarter when he broke a tackle and never looked back. Allen lost weight in the offseason to improve his speed and was able to take the ball over the distance for a whopping 96-yard touchdown. Hayden Rucci, Tyler Beach, Chimere Dike and Joe Tippmann each offered crucial blocks on the game.
3. Chimere Dike takes the tunnel screen from 74 meters
Chimere Dike interrupted another huge play for the Wisconsin offense, taking a tunnel screen from Graham Mertz from 74 yards. He was found from behind but set up the offense for another touchdown.
4. Back up safety Preston Zachman with an interception
Reserve safety Preston Zachman undermined an exit route to record a second interception for the Wisconsin defense. The second was for Hunter Wohler late in the game and ended any hopes of Illinois State stringing together late goals.
5. Graham Mertz joins Chimere Dike for a 16-yard touchdown
The Badgers capped off their final drive of the day with a nice pitch from Graham Mertz to Chimere Dike beating Illinois State who sat in cover two. Dike had previously broken up a 74-yard reception earlier on the drive.
Honorable mention: Nick Herbig with two bags
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