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Eastern Michigan visits No. 18 Wisconsin, seeks 4th Big Ten upset since 2017

FILE Preston Hutchinson
Posted at 7:16 PM, Sep 10, 2021

Eastern Michigan (1-0) at No. 18 Wisconsin (0-1), Saturday at 7 p.m. EDT (FS1).

Line: Wisconsin by 25 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Wisconsin 3-0.


Eastern Michigan is seeking to beat a ranked team for the first time. The Eagles also are hoping to improve their record against Big Ten teams since 2017 to 4-0. Eastern Michigan beat Rutgers in 2017, Purdue in 2018 and Illinois in 2019. Wisconsin is trying to avoid its first 0-2 start since 1988.


The red-zone efficiency for each team will take the spotlight. Wisconsin lost its season opener 16-10 to Penn State because it had three scoreless drives inside the Nittany Lions’ 10-yard line. Wisconsin also got to the Penn State 25 without scoring in the final minute of the game. Eastern Michigan scored in all 28 of its trips inside an opponent’s 20-yard line last year to rank first among all FBS teams in red-zone efficiency. The Eagles scored touchdowns on each of their five trips to the red zone last week in a 35-15 victory over FCS-program Saint Francis (Pennsylvania).


Eastern Michigan: QBs Ben Bryant and Preston Hutchinson: The Eagles have two quarterbacks who each played against Saint Francis. Bryant, a Cincinnati transfer, was 8 of 10 for 126 yards. Hutchinson went 7 of 12 for 63 yards with an interception. Hutchinson threw for 1,662 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions while also rushing for eight scores last year.

Wisconsin: RB Chez Mellusi: This Clemson transfer had 31 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown against Penn State. He had the highest rushing total for any player in his Wisconsin debut since P.J. Hill rushed for 130 yards against Bowling Green in 2006. His 31 carries against Penn State exceeded his 2020 season total of 27 rushing attempts at Clemson.


These two teams are facing each other for the first time since 1996, when Wisconsin won 24-3 in Madison. The Badgers have won the three previous meetings in this series by a combined score of 101-9. … Eastern Michigan is 0-13 against ranked teams and has lost by at least 14 points in each of those games. … Eastern Michigan’s Darius Boone rushed for 107 yards against Saint Francis. … Wisconsin’s Jake Ferguson has 108 career catches to lead all active FBS tight ends. He had nine catches against Penn State. … Wisconsin controlled possession for over 42 minutes against Penn State. … Wisconsin LB Leo Chenal will miss a second straight game after testing positive for COVID-19.