NIU Vs. Wisconsin Game Time, TV Schedule, Spread And More

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 03: Montee Ball #28 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs the ball in the first quarter against the Michigan State Spartans during the Big 10 Conference Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Wisconsin opens its season Saturday by hosting the Northern Iowa Panthers.

Fresh off back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances, the No. 12 Wisconsin Badgers will open their 2012 season Saturday by hosting the Northern Iowa Panthers.

While they will have to replace the departed Russell Wilson, Wisconsin returns Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball. Ball rushed for 1,923 yards and 33 touchdowns last season. Danny O'Brien, a transfer from Maryland, will take over for Wilson as the Badgers' starting quarterback. O'Brien threw for 1,648 yards and seven touchdowns for Maryland last season.

The Badgers will face a Northern Iowa team which was ranked as the No. 9 FCS team in the Sports Network Preseason Poll. The Panthers went 10-3 last season and are 99-40 under head coach Mark Farley. Northern Iowa is 2-10 against FBS opponents under Farley, including a narrow 20-19 loss at Iowa State in the 2011 season opener.

Saturday's game will be the first meeting between the two schools.

Game time, TV channel: 3:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

For news, discussion and more: For more on Badgers football, visit Wisconsin blog Bucky's 5th Quarter, plus Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire.

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