Badgers-Rutgers game will be on streaming platform, K Nathanial Vakos honored

When the Big Ten announced its new TV deal that made it the richest conference in college athletics there were always going to be drawbacks for the average fan, including potentially having to pay more to watch their favorite team on a streaming platform. While other fanbases have dealt with that in the first four weeks of the season, Wisconsin fans will face that situation in Week 6.

The Big Ten announced its TV lineup for the weekend of Oct. 7 on Monday and it features the Badgers hosting Rutgers with the game being broadcast on Peacock, NBC's streaming platform. Kickoff is at 11 a.m.

Fans unable to attend the game at Camp Randall Stadium would need a Peacock subscription to watch the game live. A one-month subscription to the service costs $5.99 and would give viewers access to the entire library of shows and live sports. It's possible that the Rutgers game will not be the only one that ends up on the platform.

Vakos honored

Nathanial Vakos has been perfect this season for Wisconsin, hitting all seven of his field goals and 14 extra points. That included going 3-for-3 on field goals against Purdue in the Badgers 38-17 win last Friday. The transfer knocked in kicks from 48 yards, 38 yards and 22 yards. For his efforts, he was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week.

Vakos has the second-most made field goals of any kicker in the conference and the most makes without a miss.

The Ohio transfer is the first Wisconsin player to win the award since Collin Larsh also won it for his three makes against the Boilermakers in 2021.

Vakos and the Badgers are on their bye this week. They'll return next week to face Rutgers at home.

Wisconsin 38, Purdue 17: 2-minute drill

WEST LAFAYETTE -- Wisconsin scored four rushing touchdowns and forced three turnovers on its way to a 38-17 win at Purdue in the Big Ten opener for both teams on Friday night.

Game Balls


QB Tanner Mordecai

His passing numbers don’t jump off the page at you — 17-for-27, 174 yards, one interception — but Mordecai did so many other things for the Badgers to make up for it. He ran it 14 times for 58 yards and two touchdowns, while also catching one pass for 19 yards. The sixth-year senior added another catch on a 2-point conversion to close out the scoring for Wisconsin.


RB Braelon Allen

Wisconsin’s lead back put up his second 100-yard game of the year, rushing for 116 yards on 16 carries (7.3 ypc). It included bouncing off a pair of attempted tackles and breaking away for a 52-yard gain early in the third quarter. Allen would end up scoring twice on the night as Wisconsin ran for 209 yards.



CB Ricardo Hallman

Interceptions tend to come in bunches and Hallman is a testament to that. The redshirt sophomore picked off the final pass of the first half, outmuscling the wide receiver for the ball. Then, with Wisconsin holding on to a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter, Hallman got quarterback Hudson Card for his second interception of the day and his third in the last two weeks.


DE James Thompson Jr.

Wisconsin has given its defensive line the green light to play in the other team’s backfield and Thompson Jr. has taken advantage. He had two more tackles for loss, part of a six tackle game for him. He also added a sack, his third of the season, which is already a career-high for the junior.

What Went Right

The Start

For the first three weeks, Wisconsin had to answer questions about slow starts that allowed its opponents to outscore the team 41-30 in the first half. The Badgers had no such issues on Friday night, scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions and opening up a 21-3 lead at the break.

More turnovers

After not getting a single turnover in their first two games, the Badgers are making up for lost time. Over the last two weeks they’ve racked up nine takeaways, including three on Friday. In addition to Hallman’s two interceptions, Wisconsin also got a forced fumble from Kaden Johnson, which got recovered by Purdue, only for Darian Varner to strip the ball loose from Devin Mockobee and recover it. The Badgers are now +3 in turnover margin for the year.


What Went Wrong

The rushing defense

Purdue came into the game with one of the worst rushing offenses in the country and averaging 3.4 yards per carry. All the Boilermakers did on Friday was rush for 194 yards (6.3 ypc) and two scores. The Badgers got gashed on a series of big play, with the Boilermakers breaking off nine runs of 10 or more yards. Missed tackles, horrible angles and bad run fits were all to blame for the struggles. The 194 yards is the second-most Wisconsin has given up in a game since the start of 2020.


The Badgers were tagged with 11 penalties, more than double their season average. Six of them were false starts (four on the OL, two on STs), two were holding and they also had a delay of game. The pre-snap penalties have become an issue in the last two weeks and has to be infuriating for the coaching staff.

Losing Chez

Wisconsin had one of the best running back tandems in college football with Allen and Chez Mellusi. Unforutanely, Allen will likely have to go it alone for the rest of the season. That’s after Mellusi suffered what appeared to be a serious left leg injury in the fourth quarter. He was taken off the field on a cart and went for X-rays. Coach Luke Fickell did not have an update afterwards, but the way Mellusi’s teammates talked, they know it’s an injury that is likely to sideline the fifth-year senior for the rest of the year.


Best Tweets



The red pants factor

JJ Watt needed to talk some trash

Best Video

You don’t want Braelon loose in your secondary

What They Said

Coach Luke Fickell on the loss of Chez Mellusi

“They're hurting in there. If we lose him for a while, it'll be tough. He's not just a great football player for us. He's not just a great tailback, he's a bit of the heart and soul of some of the things that we do.”

In Case You Missed It

— Wisconsin opened the game in a base 3-4 defense, something that had not been seen much at all in the first three games. The Badgers eventually switched to playing more of a 2-4-5 and using their dollar package.

— Jake Chaney and Jordan Turner got the start at inside linebacker and played nearly the entire game while captain Maema Njongmeta watched from the sideline. Fickell said Njongmeta was available to play and he did end up getting in for one snap on the final Purdue offensive play of the game.

— Wisconsin broke out a trick play early in the game with wide receiver Will Pauling hitting Mordecai for a 19-yard gain.


— The win allowed Wisconsin to improve to 1-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 2020.

— Wisconsin had an opportunity for another touchdown in the first half, as Mordecai laid a perfect pass down the sideline to Skyler Bell, but the wide receiver could not haul it in.

Inside the Numbers

17 — That is how many wins Wisconsin has over Purdue in a row. The Badgers have not lost to the Boilermakers since 2003.

8-8 — That is what Wisconsin started out on third down after coming into the game just 13 for 37. The Badgers finished 12 for 18.

6-6 — That’s what Wisconsin was in the red zone, staying perfect on the year. However, the Badgers had to settle for field goals in the third quarter or the game wouldn’t have been as close as it was.

5 — That is how many catches CJ Williams had for 56 yards. The USC transfer had just four catches in the first three games combined.

3 — That is how many field goals Nathaniel Vakos made on three tries. It included hitting from 48 yards out early in the fourth quarter.

4 — That is how many pass breakups cornerback Alexander Smith was credited with. The Badgers had seven as a team.

3 — That is how many kickoffs that Jake Van Dyke has put out of bounds this year after sending one out in the fourth quarter

89.4 — That was Hudson Card’s passer rating against Wisconsin.

What’s Next

Wisconsin (3-1, 1-0) will get next weekend off for its bye before returning the following week at home against Rutgers.

Temple and Heilprin: Previewing Wisconsin-Purdue, how fans view the start of the Luke Fickell era, Week 4 picks

We were back at Monk's Bar and Grill in Sun Prairie for Temple and Heilprin talking about Wisconsin's trip to Purdue, how fans are viewing the first three weeks of the Luke Fickell era and we make our Week 4 picks. 

Preview: Wisconsin at Purdue


The teams: The Wisconsin Badgers (2-1, 0-0) at the Purdue Boilermakers (1-2, 0-0)

The time: 6 p.m. CDT, Friday

The place: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Ind.

The TV coverage: FS1 with Tim Brando and Spencer Tillman on the call

The last time: Wisconsin picked off Aidan O’Connell three times, while Braelon Allen ran for 117 yards and a score in a 35-24 win last season in Madison.

The series: 52-29-8

The line: Wisconsin -6


1) Getting started on the right track

Wisconsin was the favorite to win the Big Ten West in each of the last two years only to start 0-2 in conference play, including back-to-back blowouts last season against Ohio State and Illinois that led to coach Paul Chryst’s dismissal. The Badgers were able to flip the switch in 2021, running off seven straight wins (six straight Big Ten wins) before running out of gas and losing to Minnesota on the final day of the regular season. In 2022, there was no recovering from the early hole as Wisconsin finished below .500 in the conference for the first time since 2008. If the Badgers are going to show they have what it takes to grab the last Big Ten West title before the conference goes away from divisions, it must start in West Lafayette.

2) Get it going early

It wouldn’t be accurate to say Wisconsin has been abysmal in the first half of its three games, but the actual description isn’t much better. The Badgers have come out sleep walking and have been outscored 40-31 in the first 30 minutes. It didn’t cost them against Buffalo or Georgia Southern, but even a great third quarter couldn’t overcome falling down 24-6 at Washington State two weeks ago. Coach Luke Fickell’s team likely can’t afford slow starts in conference play if its goal of playing for championships is to come to fruition. The group needs to take the energy, focus and success its shown in the third quarter of games (outscoring teams 48-7) and get after it from the jump.

3) Tanner Mordecai getting loose

Wisconsin’s quarterback has been solid throwing the ball the last two weeks, completing 62.9 percent of his passes with one touchdown and no interceptions. But the senior has also shown off his mobility, running for 83 yards (after taking out sacks) and two scores, while also making his best throw of the season — a touchdown to Skyler Bell at Washington State — after being flushed to his left.

His legs could play a major part on Friday after Purdue allowed Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader to run for 195 yards and four touchdowns last week. Some of that came on scrambles, but Shrader also took advantage of a defense that sold out on some inside runs and allowed him to get on the edges. Wisconsin has not called a lot of designed runs for Mordecai but that could change on Friday.

4) Slowing Purdue

It’s been a mixed bag for Wisconsin’s defense so far this season. Like the rest of the team, there have been moments of greatness but also way too many moments of substandard play. That’s especially the case against the pass, where the Badgers rank 114th in the country (276 ypg) and have given up nine plays of 20 or more yards.

Insert Purdue quarterback Hudson Card, the Texas transfer who has the second-most yards in the Big Ten and has thrown the ball more than anyone. As usual, the Boilermakers also have a couple talented receivers in Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen (18 catches, 218 yards) and Deion Burks (nine catches, 221 yards, three TDs). Card has also gotten the tight ends involved with freshman Max Klare averaging five catches per game.

All of that is to say that the Wisconsin secondary, which has played a ton of man-to-man through the first three games, will be challenged quite a bit. Their performance will go a long way to deciding the outcome.

5) Friday Night Lights

The Badgers are no strangers to playing on Friday nights. They did it to open the 2017 and 2018 seasons at home, while also going to South Florida to open things in 2019. But this will be the first time doing it within a season, meaning just five days of preparation rather than the normal six days between games. Purdue is dealing with the same, but getting to do it at home is an advantage. The biggest question for Wisconsin is how healthy they will be, namely at running back with Braelon Allen. He nearly didn’t play last week due to getting “dinged up” at practice. Now, with even less time to recover, what will one of the Badgers top weapons look like?


Purdue’s running game hasn’t been productive this year, ranking 102nd in the country (122.8 ypg). But sophomore running back Devin Mockobee isn’t to be overlooked and Wisconsin knows. He ran for 108 yards a touchdown last year against the Badgers.

Wisconsin has beaten Purdue 16 straight times, the longest winning streak by either team in the series. The last time the Badgers lost to the Boilermakers was 2003.


Zach Heilprin (2-1, 0-3 ATS) ’s prediction: Wisconsin 31, Purdue 27
Ebo (2-1, 1-2 ATS) ’s prediction: Wisconsin 28, Purdue 20
RJ Brachman's (2-1, 1-2 ATS) prediction: Wisconsin 35, Purdue 24

Brewers take 3 of 4 from St. Louis with shutout win

Milwaukee continued its march to an NL Central title Thursday afternoon with a 6-0 win in St. Louis.

It was 2-0 in the sixth when the Brewers blew the game open with a 4-run inning. Andruw Monasterio drove in the first run of the inning with a single, before Victor Caratini drilled a 3-run homer, his seventh of the year.

Blake Perkins got the scoring going with a solo home run in third inning. Sal Frelick doubled the lead with a single in the fifth. Frelick and Caratini each had a pair of hits for the Crew.

The Brewers got a very nice start from Wade Miley, who threw six innings of shutout ball. He allowed just three hits, while striking out seven and walking a pair. The win pushed his record to 9-4 on the season.

Milwaukee's magic number to clinch the NL Central is now at three, while the team's magic number to grab a playoff spot is two. The Brewers will look to lower it even further when they head to Miami to face the Marlins in a series starting on Friday.

Brewers roll in St. Louis, drop magic number to 4 to clinch NL Central

Milwaukee is closing in on its fourth NL Central title following an 8-2 win in St. Louis on Wednesday night.

The Brewers jumped on Cardinals starter Zack Thompson early, with Josh Donaldson drilling a three-run homer. It was his 22nd hit of the year with 12 of those being home runs. Tyrone Taylor would deliver a solo home run in the fourth inning and another in the ninth before Mark Canha blew the game open with a 3-run double.

Andruw Monasterio and William Contreras each two hits and a run scored.

The offense was plenty for Adrian Houser and the pitching staff. Houser went six innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out four. He improved to 7-4 on the year.

With the win and Chicago's loss to Pittsburgh, the Brewers magic number to clinch the NL Central stands at four, while the magic number to earn a playoff spot is at three.

Milwaukee and St. Louis will finish off the series on Thursday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1:10 p.m.

The Camp: Wisconsin's biggest questions, getting all the WRs involved, Badgers heading to Purdue

The Badgers will open Big Ten play on Friday at Purdue. Zach and Jesse discuss the biggest questions facing the team, the struggle to get all the offensive weapons involved and the energy inside the program.

Will the offense ever be the one we thought it could? (2:40)

Should Chez and Braelon be used differently? (6:56)

Biggest defensive questions facing UW (16:15)

The struggle to keep all the weapons involved (24:02)

The energy around the program (31:29)

Wisconsin's basketball schedule is set

Wisconsin's 2023-24 basketball schedule is officially complete.

The Big Ten finally announced its full slate of games Tuesday morning, including the 20 conference games that the Badgers will play.

Already facing a challenging non-conference schedule that includes games against likely top-15 opponents in Tennessee, Marquette and Arizona, Wisconsin will open Big Ten play with a trip to East Lansing to face a likely top-10 Michigan State squad on Dec. 5. That will be preceded by hosting the Golden Eagles on Dec. 2 and followed by going to Tucson to take on the Wildcats on Dec. 9.

The Badgers get two more non-conference games before diving back into the conference with back-to-back home games against Iowa and Nebraska to start January. Other highlights include the Spartans visiting the Kohl Center on Jan. 26, defending Big Ten champion Purdue coming to Madison on Feb. 4, facing Illinois and Rutgers in the final two home games before going to West LaFayette on the last day of the regular season.

Times and where the games will air will be announced at a later date.

Check out the full schedule:

Nov. 1 – UW-STEVENS POINT (exhibition)



Nov. 14 – at Providence


Nov. 20 – vs. Virginia (Fort Meyers Tip-Off)

Nov. 22 – vs. SMU/West Virginia (Fort Meyers Tip-Off)



Dec. 5 – at Michigan State

Dec. 9 – at Arizona



Jan. 2 – IOWA


Jan. 10 – at Ohio State


Jan. 16 – at Penn State

Jan. 19 – INDIANA

Jan. 23 – at Minnesota


Feb. 1 – at Nebraska

Feb. 4 – PURDUE

Feb. 7 – at Michigan

Feb. 10 – at Rutgers

Feb. 13 – OHIO STATE

Feb. 17 – at Iowa

Feb. 20 – MARYLAND

Feb. 27 – at Indiana

March 2 – ILLINOIS

March 7 – RUTGERS

March 10 – at Purdue

Badgers: Jake Renfro, Isaiah Mullens close to returning to action

Wisconsin could get two potential starters back in time for its Big Ten opener against Purdue this Friday.

Coach Luke Fickell was asked about the status of center Jake Renfro and defensive lineman Isaiah Mullens, each of whom have missed the first three games of the season due to injury.

"I would hope maybe this week," Fickell said Monday. "If not this week, I would definitely expect that after the bye that, unless something else happens, that would be a definite time they should be back in there."

A transfer that came with Fickell from Cincinnati, Renfro missed all of last season with an injury. He started the spring as the No. 1 center but a foot injury sidelined him. The junior appeared to be rounding into form early in fall camp before another foot injury knocked him out of practice. His absence has left junior Tanor Bortolini as the starting center. He's been able to hold down the spot, but is probably better suited to play guard.

"We'd like to get Jake Renfro back and maybe give us some more versatility there with (Bortolini)," Fickell said as part of another answer regarding the offensive line.

A sixth-year senior, Mullens had a knee scope during fall camp, just the latest injury to pop up and impact his playing time. He was limited to seven games last year, including three starts. Wisconsin could use his size and experience along a defensive line that is still feeling the loss of Keeanu Benton to the NFL.

The Badgers have opened the season 2-1 and will be looking to start Big Ten play 1-0 for the first time since 2020 when they travel to face the Boilermakers. Kick on Friday is set for 6 p.m.

Packers' LaFleur says Bakhtiari's absence wasn't due to game being on turf: 'His knee is injured'

David Bakhtiari was not absent from Sunday's loss at Atlanta due to the game being played on artificial turf.

That was the word from Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur yesterday when asked directly whether the former All-Pro left tackle, who has been extremely critical of playing on turf, did not play for that reason.

"Well, his knee is injured," LaFleur told reporters Monday. "There was swelling."

The fifth-year coach was then asked if the game had been on the grass at Lambeau Field, would Bakhtiari have been able to go.

"I don't believe so," LaFleur answered, before cutting off the next question about the situation and saying he was done discussing it.

Bakhtiari's status has been a constant point of questioning for the last two seasons. He missed the entire 2021 season except for about 30 plays due to complications from a torn ACL suffered at the end of the 2020 season. He was limited to 11 games last year and rarely practiced during training camp this summer. Despite not practicing at all leading into the Chicago game in Week 1, he was still out there against the Bears, putting together a great effort in a win. He took the same path heading into the Atlanta game, though he was listed as questionable after not having a designation in the opener.

"No, I think that’s just the nature of the beast," LaFleur said last Friday when asked if anything had changed from the previous week for Bakhtiari. "He will probably be questionable all year."

The issues around Bakhtiari came on the same day that the team lost its starting left guard in Elgton Jenkins to a sprained MCL. He is expected to miss an extended period of time with the injury but should be able to return this season. He told reporters Monday that the turf might have played a role in the injury but it was also "wrong place, wrong time."

Jenkins took a shot to his left knee from AJ Dillon after the running back slipped trying to make a cut in the second quarter.

"He means a lot to our football team, obviously. He's played at a really high level," LaFleur said. "It's an unfortunate play. I've got to give him credit, man. He stayed in there and battled and played another two plays. When they told me he was (out), it actually kind of shocked me. I saw the initial hit and was a little concerned. I saw him slow to get up but then he kept going, so I thought he was able to play through it. But, yeah, it's unfortunate."

Royce Newman took over at Jenkins' spot the rest of the game against the Falcons.