I don’t know if I like this only getting to play a B1G opponent every other week, but at least this week there’s a game, in Camp Randall, against a solid BYU team.
Let’s hop into five things to watch on Saturday afternoon.
1. Can the Badgers stop the dual threat Taysom Hill and his partner in crime, Jamaal Williams?
Taysom Hill is a solid dual threat quarterback that is averaging 252 passing and 105 rushing yards per game. Add in Williams who is only averaging 92 rushing yards per game and well, it’s a tough duo to stop.
Factor in that BYU uses a quick offense designed to run many plays and well, the Wisconsin defense could get worn down a little. Look for lots of substituting on the defensive end. A nice shot in the arm could be…
2. Will Chris Borland play, and if so, how effective will he be?
Borland is a beast in the middle and could help shoulder the load on stopping the running game…if he’s healthy. He’s the anchor on defense, and while the defense played solid last week, Iowa fans noticed he was missing. Getting him back not only helps the team in the obvious ways, but it gives the defense a shot in the arm and helps pump up a Camp Randall crowd that hasn’t seen a game in nearly a month.
Borland also helps on the pass rush, where BYU is vulnerable. Hill isn’t afraid to expand a play in hopes of finding someone open, but this also allows a chance at some sacks that put the Cougars in a position where they have to pass.
3. Can the Wisconsin defensive take advantage of a young BYU front?
While BYU has a formidable rushing attack, the Badgers have been able to shut down rushing attacks all year. They are fifth in the country in rush defense, so look for the Cougars to pass a little more than they’d like.
That doesn’t happen, though, if Wisconsin is able to put pressure on Hill. If he feels he doesn’t have the time he’d like to let plays develop, we could see a mistake or two. He has thrown eight interceptions this year, so look for the Badgers secondary to steal at least one pass on Saturday.
4. Will the Camp Randall crowd help to frustrate the Cougars?
Like I mentioned earlier, it’s been a long time since anyone in Madison has gotten to see the Badgers play, so the crowd should be excited. It’s also a 2:30 game, so there isn’t an excuse for the student section not to at least be 80% full at kickoff.
I just hope everyone realizes that while this isn’t a B1G game, BYU is good, and it’s shaping up to be a very close game.
5. If it comes down to a field goal, can Jack Russell outkick Justin Sorensen?
I wasn’t going to add this one, but to be fair, I’ve been pretty tough on the kicking game this year. Russell boomed that 50 yard field goal (his first attempt) and looked confident doing so. Had it not been for Ferentz using all three timeouts (I don’t see a problem using one timeout, but the NCAA needs to get on board with the NFL rule) we’d be talking about how the kicking game has looked the best it has all year. That being said, I still do have confident in Russell. Sorensen, on the other hand, is pretty much automatic. He’s hit every extra point and only missed two field goals all year under 50 yards.
This is going to be a tough test (probably the toughest left on the schedule, sorry Minnesota), and I hope the national media notices that this is the second tough non-conference game of the year for the Badgers. Oh, who am I kidding?
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