As expected, the Wisconsin Badgers got their 2022 football season off to a strong start with a dominating 38-0 victory over the Illinois State Redbirds.
Illinois State was putting together a good drive down the field and had a chance to get on the board first, but an interception by Badgers safety John Torchio was returned from the goal line 100 yards all the way for a Wisconsin touchdown. That was the longest interception return in Badgers program history.
Shortly after that, Wisconsin had the ball on their own four yard line and Braelon Allen received the handoff from Graham Mertz and took it 96 yards to the house for his first touchdown of the season to make it a 14-0 Badger lead. The 96 yard run also set a record for the longest run in Badgers program history, breaking the record set by James White against Indiana.
Wisconsin was off to the races from there. Allen finished with 14 carries for 148 yards and two touchdowns. Graham Mertz completed 14 of 16 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown. Chimere Dike was the Badgers' leading receiver with 3 catches for 106 yards and a touchdown, including a 74 yard catch and run. Isaac Guerendo also added a touchdown late.
The Badgers defense was strong as usual, putting up a shutout and getting a pair of interceptions, the first from Torchio and the second from Preston Zachman.
It was a good start to the season for Wisconsin, doing what they needed to do and were expected to do against an opponent like Illinois State. They put up points, didn't allow any, and some new faces on both sides of the ball were able to get their snaps in and get better acclimated to the college game.
Next up for Wisconsin, they'll face Washington State back at Camp Randall next Saturday.