Game 152: Illinois @ Wisconsin

With the big presidential election coming up, so many vital questions are nagging the nation: Will America have its first African-American president in Barack Obama? Is Sarah Palin enough to lift John McCain’s numbers in the polls? Will the Wisconsin Badgers end their four game losing skid on homecoming to Illinois? I’m happy to say I was able to report on one of these highly anticipated questions this past Saturday…

It wasn’t long ago that the Badgers were ranked in the top ten hoping for enough votes to keep them in the title hunt. Their dreams were taken as fast as Hillary Clinton’s in the democratic primary. Four straight losses in Big Ten play and quarterback issues have destroyed their hopes for national respect. Illinois has played well, but not in the big games that matter. On homecoming in Madison, the usual packed house filled the stands, but with a somber approach to the game. The football team’s record never seems to affect the party atmosphere and excitement that surrounds Camp Randall Stadium. If the usual excitment were not enough, many former Badger players returned home to see if their team could get back on track. I was even lucky enough to meet former Heisman trophy winner, Ron Dayne!

Illinois and Wisconsin traded punches in the first quarter like a good debate. It appeared as though the Illini would start to pull away in the second half. However, the Badgers found a rhythm and found their deciding vote on a 49 yard pass on 3rd and 17 that gave Wisconsin the tie and momentum. The Badgers would not look back as they moved on to a 27-17 victory.

The game did not have the excitement of a heated presidential race, but Badger fans can finally feel confident in the team they vote for every Saturday afternoon. The game provided hope for a bowl and as for the Illini, they will have to begin picking up the pace before they fall into a losing slump.

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