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Badgers open pandemic-delayed season Friday night

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MADISON (AP/WKOW) - No. 14 Wisconsin opens this pandemic-delayed season by seeking some revenge.

Illinois was a 30 1/2-point underdog last year when it stunned Wisconsin 24-23 in one of the season's biggest upsets.

Wisconsin also wants to take the first step toward winning its fourth Big Ten West Division title in the last five years.

Wisconsin redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz is making his first career start with senior Jack Coan out indefinitely due to foot surgery.

A second straight upset of Wisconsin would show that Illinois is making progress under Lovie Smith.

Smith enters his fifth season with a 15-34 record after helping the Illini go 6-7 and earn their first bowl bid since 2014 last year.

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Associated Press

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