Wisconsin’s 2020 season is off to a strong start.

The 14th-ranked Badgers cruised to a 45-7 victory over Illinois in the B1G opener on Friday night, avenging last season’s 24-23 upset loss to the Illini in Champaign. Two touchdowns in the final 3 minutes of the first half broke the game open from a 14-7 advantage for Wisconsin to a 28-7 lead going into the locker room.

Graham Mertz was sensational, completing 20-of-21 pass attempts for 248 yards and 5 touchdowns, setting 3 school records in the process. That all happening in his first career game as a starting QB for the Badgers.

Wisconsin’s defense was strong on Friday night, as well. It limited the Illinois offense to just 215 yards and didn’t surrender a point in the game. Illinois’ only touchdown was a scoop-and-score in the 2nd quarter.

Head coach Paul Chryst was pleased with his team’s performance from Friday night. Here’s what he had to say following the blowout victory: