No. 19 Wisconsin opens first season of Luke Fickell’s tenure by hosting Buffalo
Buffalo at No. 19 Wisconsin, Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Line: Wisconsin by 27 ½, according to FanDuel Sportsbook
Series record: Wisconsin 1-0
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Wisconsin is seeking to win its home opener for the 27th time in the last 28 years (the exception being a 16-10 loss to Penn State in 2021). The Badgers haven’t lost a season-opening home game to a non-Big Ten team since falling 43-7 to Colorado in 1995. Buffalo is attempting to improve to 2-11 against Big Ten schools. The Bulls’ lone win over a Big Ten team was a 42-13 triumph at Rutgers in 2018.
Wisconsin RB Braelon Allen vs. Buffalo LB Shaun Dolac. These two players figure to see quite a bit of each other Saturday. Allen has rushed for over 1,200 yards each of the last two seasons and is a preseason Associated Press All-America second-team selection. Dolac, who came to Buffalo as a walk-on, led the Football Bowl Subdivision with a school-record 97 solo tackles last season. His 147 total tackles ranked second nationally.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Buffalo: S Marcus Fuqua had seven interceptions last season to tie Middle Tennessee’s Decorian Patterson for the FBS lead. Fuqua was a third-team AP All-America selection.
Wisconsin: QB Tanner Mordecai has joined the Badgers after throwing for over 3,500 yards at SMU each of the last two seasons. His 72 touchdowns passes at SMU set the program’s career record. Mordecai will be operating new offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s Air Raid offense, which should be more balanced than the run-oriented attack Wisconsin traditionally has used.
FACTS & FIGURES
New Wisconsin coach Luke Fickell owns a 64-25 career record and went 57-18 at Cincinnati over the last six seasons. … Both teams are relying heavily on transfers. Wisconsin’s roster includes 17 transfer newcomers. Buffalo added 28 transfers this offseason. … Buffalo QB Cole Snyder has a Big Ten background after starting his career at Rutgers. Snyder threw for 3,030 yards at Buffalo last season. … In the only previous meeting between these teams, Wisconsin beat Buffalo 35-3 at home in 2006. … Buffalo K Alex McNulty has 310 career points, eight shy of Jaret Patterson’s school record. … Wisconsin returns its top two tacklers from last season in LBs Maema Njongmeta and Jordan Turner.
TOP PHOTO: FILE – Wisconsin’s Braelon Allen is congratulated by teammates after running for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Northwestern Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)