Big Ten

The Man in Madison: Badgers' Stave hopes senior year is record-setting


The Man in Madison: Badgers' Stave hopes senior year is record-setting

Freshman Joel Stave wasn't afraid to set lofty goals for senior Joel Stave.

"My freshman year I actually put a little sticky note that sits on something on my desk at home of just most wins, most passing yards and most touchdowns," Stave said. "Looking at it now, they’re all pretty much within reach."

For the first time in what seems like forever, the keys to the Badger buggie are Stave's. Previous years saw competitors like Tanner McEvoy trying to rip the starting job away from Stave, who has played meaningful snaps since his freshman year. But new coach Paul Chryst immediately tabbed Stave as the starter in the spring, giving the senior a sense of ease heading into the fall. 

"I’m really excited for camp this year. Just kind of knowing that you’re not constantly looking over your shoulder, you’re not seeing how someone else is doing on their drive or how this guy is throwing the ball or whatever. It’s about me doing everything I can to get the most out of every day."

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Junior running back Corey Clement has noticed the changes in his quarterback heading into 2015. Clement says play time is over for Stave as he's now a leader of the team.

"He’s the captain to this team," Clement said. "You got to look up to him regardless. Everybody is showing more respect towards him. He has a ton of experience under his belt so what more could you ask for out of a quarterback or him."

Bringing in new coaches can sometimes create a period of time where everyone is getting on the same page. Fortunately for the Badgers, Stave and Chryst, the two have a history together dating back to Chryst's last tenure in Madison, which has helped jumpstart all the offseason conversations they've had. 

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"We got down to some of the core topics pretty quick," Chryst said. "And I have appreciated the way that he's approached the whole transition. And Joel is -- he's played in a lot of football games and won a lot of games. And yet he's got that desire to continue to grow and -- he wants to be the best quarterback he can be. And he wants to be a leader on this team. All the things you want your players, your seniors, your senior quarterback to be."

Stave might not be the sexiest quarterback in the Big Ten or Wisconsin history but sometimes the record book doesn't care how you do it. The Badgers senior quarterback is in line to potentially become the winningest signal caller in school history. He's only nine wins away from tying Brooks Bollinger for most all-time quarterback wins at 30. His win percentage (.750) is currently third best, behind Scott Tolzein (.808) and John Stocco (.806), and he's seventh in school history in passing yards with 4,948 yards, while Darrell Bevell sits at the top with 7,686 yards. He also trails Bevell in total touchdown passes by 22. While some of these records may seem a little out of reach, getting there is all part of the plan for Stave.

"I would need to have a good season," Stave said. "Luckily I’m planning on having a good season."

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal


Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.