Western Illinois to play at Wisconsin in 2026

By Kevin Kelley -

The Western Illinois Leathernecks will play at the Wisconsin Badgers in 2026, FBSchedules.com has learned.

A copy of the football game contract was obtained from Western Illinois University via a state Freedom of Information Act request.

Western Illinois, a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), will travel to face Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis., on September 12, 2026. Wisconsin will pay Western Illinois a $575,000 guarantee for playing the game, according to the copy of the contract.

Western Illinois and Wisconsin first met on the gridiron in 1991 and have played a total of three contests. The Badgers defeated the Leathernecks in each meeting, most recently 37-3 in 2014.

The Wisconsin Badgers are the first scheduled opponent for Western Illinois for the 2026 season.

Western Illinois also has four other future games scheduled against opponents from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The Leathernecks will play at Oklahoma State in 2020, at Ball State in 2021, at Minnesota in 2022, and at Purdue in 2028.

Wisconsin now has two non-conference opponents scheduled in 2026. The Badgers are also slated to host the Pitt Panthers on Sept. 19 that season.

Western Illinois is the fourth FCS opponent added to Wisconsin’s future non-conference schedules. The Badgers are also scheduled to host Southern Illinois in 2020, Illinois State in 2022, and South Dakota in 2024.

Football Schedules