72F Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- - No. 4 Wisconsin had a week off after pounding then-No. 8 Nebraska and will now host Indiana - a team the Badgers beat 83-20 a year ago in their best offensive performance in 95 years.
Coach Bret Bielema says he won't allow his team to be lulled into complacency with all of that going on. He said the Badgers (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) need to keep their edge going into Saturday's matchup.
"One of the roles we love to be (as coach) is a humbler," he said. "We got after people pretty good last week and challenged them during the course of the week. I'm sure they're feeling good, but not that good."
Indiana (1-5, 0-2) is off to a rough start under first-year coach Kevin Wilson and his Hoosiers will face a Badgers team hitting on all cylinders. Bielema makes no apologies for the romp against Indiana last season, but he realizes the high score created a bit of commotion.
From a late defensive touchdown to a score by a reserve quarterback, he said the victory "raised some eyebrows" for Wisconsin, and likely has led to more exposure for the team this season.
"The stars were kind of aligned for us that day," Bielema said. "I do believe it's created a little bit of talk about Wisconsin, a little bit of a buzz in the way we finished and the way we're playing this year."
A star has emerged for the Badgers in quarterback Russell Wilson, who holds an FBS-leading 216.89 rating in pass efficiency, and ranks third in the nation in completion percentage at 74.8. He has completed 83 of 111 passes for 1,391 yards and 13 TDs and a single interception.
As for last year's game against Indiana, which took place while Wilson was still at North Carolina State, he said he's just focusing on the opponent, not history.
"It's a new year, and a new opportunity for us and them," Wilson said of the Hoosiers. "We have to come out prepared and have a great game."
Wilson has gotten plenty of help from a typically powerful Wisconsin running game. Montee Ball, who had 167 yards and three touchdowns last year against Indiana, ran for 151 yards and four TDs in the 48-17 drubbing of Nebraska on Oct. 1.
Ball has multiple touchdowns in each of the Badgers' games this season, while Wisconsin has rolled up at least 200 yards on the ground each time it has taken the field.
Bielema spent last Saturday watching college football, including the Hoosiers' game against Illinois. Indiana scored a touchdown on the opening kickoff and got a field goal to take a 10-0 lead, but the Illini rallied for a 41-20 win after capitalizing on defensive breakdowns and turnovers.
Bielema said the Hoosiers have shown they're "right there knocking on the door." He also said he heard from a handful of sources that the score from last season's game is displayed prominently in the Indiana locker room, and a point of emphasis for Indiana heading into Saturday's game.
"We've got an (opponent), I know, whose win-loss record isn't that good, but they've been competitive," Bielema said. "To me a true sign (of improvement) as a head coach is if your team is improving each week, and that makes a big statement to me. And they definitely do that."
Indiana's players remain confident even though the Hoosiers have lost 14 of 15 in the Big Ten and 13 straight to Top-25 opponents. They've dropped six in a row to Wisconsin by an average of 30.5 points.
"We know we have the ability, it's just a matter of applying the new techniques and what we practice during the week," Indiana center Will Matte said. "We just haven't been able to do that yet."
Part of the problem has been quarterback play. Dusty Kiel started last weekend, but injured his ankle and was replaced by freshman Tre Roberson.
Roberson threw an interception but was the more productive player, going 11 of 17 for 148 yards and rushing for a touchdown.
Whichever player is under center will hope Wisconsin is looking ahead. After Saturday's game, the Badgers visit No. 23 Michigan State and Ohio State for prime-time showdowns, a key stretch as they try to reach the inaugural Big Ten title game.