College Football: Badgers, Illini off to good start; Huskies, Hawkeyes struggling

September 14, 2011

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

The four area college football teams that I’ve vowed to keep a close eye on this year had a roller-coaster weekend. Good news for the Badgers and the Illini, but not so good news for the Huskies and the Hawkeyes.

Wisconsin continues to show why they are one of the top 10 rated teams in the country (eighth, at press time). They dominated in every facet of the game in their 35-0 shutout win over Oregon State in Madison, Wis.

On offense, the arm of transfer quarterback sensation Russell Wilson and the running game, led by Montee Ball, proved way too much for the Beavers. Wilson threw for three touchdowns, and Ball added a pair on the ground.

The Badgers have their first road game of the season this week when they travel to Soldier Field in Chicago to take on the Northern Illinois Huskies. Game time is 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17.

NIU is fresh off a heartbreaking 3-point loss to the Kansas Jayhawks on the road. The Huskies gave up the game-winning touchdown pass on a fourth-down-and-goal from the 6-yard line. Kansas won 45-42.

The Iowa Hawkeyes suffered the other heartbreaker/thriller of the weekend. They dropped a three-overtime game to their instate rivals, the Iowa State Cyclones. The win improves Iowa State to 2-0 this season, and ends a three-game losing streak to the Hawkeyes. The Hawkeyes dropped to 1-1, and return home this weekend to face Pittsburgh.

The Fighting Illini easily won their game against South Dakota State at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill., 56-3. Rockford Boylan Catholic High School graduate and Illini kicker Derek Dimke was perfect on all eight of his extra-point attempts. This week, the Illini will be trying for their third-straight win in a row at home. They face the Arizona State Sun Devils. Game time is 6 p.m., and will be broadcast on the Big 10 Network.

From the Sept. 14-20, 2011, issue

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