Wisconsin (4) Opens 2018 Season Against Western Kentucky

Wisconsin Badgers Big Ten Athletics

Wisconsin Faces the Dangerous Hilltoppers

The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and the Wisconsin Badgers will open their 2018 seasons on Friday night. Camp Randall Stadium will be the site of the action. ESPN will televise the game starting at 9 pm EST.

Oddsmakers opened the Badgers as -33-point favorites versus the Hilltoppers, while the game’s total opened at 51. The line is now Wisconsin 37 and the total is at 51.5.

Fourth-ranked Wisconsin looks to live up to its lofty ranking on Friday. The Badgers went unbeaten in the regular season last year. That was en route to their third Big Ten West Division title in the last four years. They fell to Ohio State in the conference championship game.

The Badgers hope to build on their record-breaking 13-win season by earning a spot in the College Football Playoff for the first time in program history.

Wisconsin Returns Some Experience in Key Positions

Wisconsin returns several key players on offense. Including Heisman Trophy candidate Jonathan Taylor. He set an NCAA freshman rushing record with 1,977 yards. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook is back after throwing 25 touchdowns passes. The lefthander will be without two major weapons.

Taylor racked up ten 100-yard games to go along with 13 touchdowns in his record-breaking freshman campaign. He is poised for another big year with all five starters returning on the offensive line. They include All-Americans Beau Benzschawel, Michael Deiter and David Edwards.

Junior Quintez Cephus, who was the team’s top returning receiver, was suspended indefinitely. He was charged with two counts of sexual assault. Danny Davis will sit out the first two games for his role in the alleged incidents.

Wisconsin has won 22 consecutive home openers. They can extend its non-conference winning streak at Camp Randall to 40 games with another victory.

Western Kentucky is Looking to Rebound

Western Kentucky is coming off its first losing season since 2010. They have hopes to earn the biggest win of Mike Sanford Jr.’s two-season tenure by knocking off a Big Ten opponent. It would be the first time in school history after losing its previous seven meetings.

Senior quarterback Drew Eckels will replace Mike White. White threw for 4,177 yards and 26 touchdowns last season. Eckels hopes to prove the critics wrong after the Hilltoppers were picked to finish fifth in Conference USA’s East Division.

Senior D’Andre Ferby is the favorite to start at running back after rushing for a team-high 373 yards in 2017. There are four other players vying for playing time in a crowded backfield.

“I think that all five guys are going to play against Wisconsin,” Sanford told reporters. “We’ve had opportunities in scrimmages to see who ran the best and that was going to decide the starter but all five of them have done really good things.”

PREDICTION: Wisconsin 41, Western Kentucky 13

Wisconsin (4) Opens 2018 Season Against Western Kentucky 1

Recent Form

NameRecordATSOffenseDefenseDiffATS HomeATS AwayOU RecordOU HomeOU Away
Western Kentucky6-73-1023.2526.85-3.62-41-67-64-23-4
Power Stats

Yards Per Point


Yards Per Pass


Yards Per Rush

Team Records

WKU Hilltoppers

NameRecordHomeAwayATSATS HomeATS AwayOffenseDefenseDiff
vs Conf4-32-12-23-42-11-329.1430.00-0.86
Last 31-21-00-21-21-00-225.0035.33-10.33

Wisconsin Badgers

NameRecordHomeAwayATSATS HomeATS AwayOffenseDefenseDiff
vs Conf9-15-14-06-43-33-130.9014.1016.80
Last 32-10-12-02-10-12-028.6717.0011.67


Away Team Overall Scoring vs Home Team Overall Defense25.468913.933
Away Team Road Passing vs Home Team Home Passing Defense312.0012161.0012
Away Team Road Rushing vs Home Team Home Rushing Defense32.1412893.258
Home Team Overall Scoring vs Away Team Overall Defense33.792826.8566
Home Team Home Passing vs Away Team Road Passing Defense198.5093192.5722
Home Team Home Rushing vs Away Team Road Rushing Defense212.3830172.4363

Head To Head Summary

Western Kentucky0-10-00-06.00115.002.174.0025.0028.00143.001.00

Head To Head Detail

DateAwayHomeScoreLineTotalOU ResultARYAPYATYATTHRYHPYHTYHTTAway Team AttemptsHome Team AttemptsAway Team CompletionsHome Team Completions
Sep 29, 2001WKUWISCSN6-241152814311931413342

College Football Betting Odds & Trends

Team Last 5 Games

WKU Hilltoppers

DateOpponentscoreResultlineATS Resultoffensive rush yardsoffensive passing yardsoffensive total yardsdefensive rush yardsdefensive passing yardsdefensive total yardsturnoversLocation
Dec 16, 2017GA.ST17-27L-6.5/54.5L/U-23513491432764192A
Nov 24, 2017FIU17-41L-3/57L/O463554011222513733A
Nv 17, 2017MIDTEN41-38W0/56W/O534855381372944311H
Nov 11, 2017MARSHL23-30L10/52W/O343343681441903341A
Nv 4, 2017VANDY17-31L12.5/53.5L/U-63553491742203940A

Wisconsin Badgers

DateOpponentscoreResultlineATS Resultoffensive rush yardsoffensive passing yardsoffensive total yardsdefensive rush yardsdefensive passing yardsdefensive total yardsturnoversLocation
Dec 30, 2017MI-FL34-24W-6.5/45.5W/O142258400174203377-2A
Dec 2, 2017OHIOST21-27L3.5/51L/U60238298238211449-1H
Nov 25, 2017MINN31-0W-18/43W/U28716945693401331A
Nv 18, 2017MICH24-10W-6.5/42W/U182143325581762340H
Nov 11, 2017IOWA38-14W-12/45.5W/O2471353822541661H

Next up:
WKU home to Maine Saturday, September 8
Wisconsin home to New Mexico Saturday, September 8

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Wisconsin (4) Opens 2018 Season Against Western Kentucky 1