Wisconsin Football: Season-opening night games revisited

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The Wisconsin Badgers will begin their 2022 football season under the lights of Camp Randall Stadium.

The Badgers host the Illinois State Redbirds in Madison on September 3 for a 6:00 p.m. CST kickoff, with the game airing on FS1.

Illinois State is an FCS school in Normal, Illinois, and the game will represent the first game of the year for both teams. For Wisconsin, the game will also be a chance to start the season with a win after losing last season’s home opener to Penn State.

Additionally, the night game will allow fans to enjoy and build excitement for the 2022 season.

However, the game is far from the first time the Badgers will start their season on a night out. In fact, since 2010, the Badgers have started the season on nights seven times.

Wisconsin is 5-2 in those seven contests, with the only losses suffered by Alabama and LSU in neutral-site games in Texas.

In the final opener of the night, the Badgers started the 2020 season with a bang, outscoring Illinois 45-7 at Camp Randall behind a five-touchdown performance from Graham Mertz.

The previous year, Jonathan Taylor ran all over USF on the road at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, leading the way to an impressive 49-0 victory over the Bulls.

In 2018, it was a similar story, as the Badgers beat Western Kentucky 34-3 at Camp Randall, with Alex Hornibrook throwing for over 250 yards and two touchdowns.

Wisconsin hammered Utah State in 2017 to open the season at night. A 59-10 win, the game featured a comeback from the Badgers, who were down 10 points after the first quarter. Alex Hornibrook had another great performance, but a 99-yard interception return for a Joe Ferguson walk-on touchdown stole the show.

2014 and 2015 didn’t go so well for the Badgers. In 2014, Wisconsin fell four to LSU despite a strong showing from Melvin Gordon, including a 63-yard touchdown run to open the second half. Gordon didn’t see many touches the rest of the way, thanks to head coach Gary Andersen while starting quarterback Tanner McEvoy threw for just 50 yards on 24 attempts.

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The 2015 game wasn’t nearly as close, as Alabama was in control throughout. Derrick Henry rushed for three touchdowns for the Crimson Tide, while Wisconsin couldn’t run the ball that day and finished with 40 rushing yards per team in a 35-17 loss at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Wisconsin started the season in Las Vegas against UNLV and won that game 41-21 in 2010, a game that was an incredibly late kickoff.

Overall, with an FCS opponent slated for opening night this year, the hope must be that the team puts in a performance similar to the last four home openers that took place on the night. against Illinois, USF, Western Kentucky and Utah State.

The Badgers will be working in several new starters on both sides of the ball, and the coaching staff has also gone through a lot of changes this offseason, so interest is high to see what this new iteration of Wisconsin football will look like on September 3. . .

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