When: Saturday, Sept. 12, 11a.m. CT
Where: Madison, Wis.; Camp Randall Stadium (80,231)
Radio: Badger Sports Network
Last Meeting: First Meeting
All-Time Series: N/A
Now…on to a new look for our weekly football previews…(tell us your thoughts on Twitter and/or Facebook)
1 Burning Question: Can Wisconsin Run the Football Without Corey Clement?
Wisconsin ran for just 40 yards against perhaps the best front seven this team will face all season long. It also had to do it without their star, Corey Clement, who had just eight carries and was held out with a tweak to his already strained groin. While we give him credit for gutting it out and trying to go, the truth is Wisconsin is going to need much, much more from its backup running backs even if Clement was healthy.
Dare Ogunbowale ran for just nine yards on three carries, while redshirt freshman Taiwan Deal had six carries for 14 yards.
That simply won’t cut it, and neither will missing open holes or not having the patience to allow creases to form. Watching the game back, it was clear that Alabama won some big battles up front, but that Wisconsin’s running backs also missed a few opportunities. Can they learn from those mistakes and give this team confidence in the run game once again.
Doing it against Miami (OH) would be a great starting point, and a likely one given the state of these two teams.
2 Key Stats To Know:
3 — That is the number of victories the Redhawks own since the 2012 season. Yep, three wins in two-plus seasons. After going 4-8 in back-to-back seasons (2011 and 2012), Miami (OH) went winless in 2013 and just 2-10 last season. Simply put, this is a once-proud program that has really fallen on some hard times as of late.
5,000 — That is the number of career yards Stave topped in the loss to Alabama. Stave proved he was more of his good self than the non-confident self from last season in the loss to Alabama. His 228 yards put him over the top of the 5,000-yard passing mark for his career, and that means he joins only five other Badger quarterbacks to top that mark. Additionally, Stave joins Darrell Bevell as the only two UW quarterbacks to throw for 5,000 yards, pass for 35 or more touchdowns and complete 59 percent of their passes or better.
3 Staff Predictions:
Andy: Wisconsin 55-10 (1-0 this season)
Nate: Wisconsin 58-17 (1-0 this season)
Sawyer: Wisconsin 48-10 (1-0 this season)
For the second straight week our panel of writers sees the game heading in the same direction, this time in favor of the Badgers though. Can everyone move to 2-0 this weekend?
4 Key Players To Watch:
Dare Ogunbowale, RB — With Corey Clement’s status completely unknown to those of us in the media, Ogunbowale is likely to get the first crack at carries at running back. He didn’t impress and really didn’t have a chance to do much given how quickly Alabama got up on the Badgers last week. While everyone pays attention to the gaudy stats of the likes of James White, Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon as of late, the reality is all three have had awesome backs behind them to keep the ball rolling. Does Wisconsin have that this year? We’ll all likely find out on Saturday afternoon against Miami (OH).
T.J. Edwards, ILB — No one player impressed more in his debut against Alabama than Edwards did. He was in on a ton of tackles, with his 12 total tackles coming in second on the team. If that was the start, where can things go for the redshirt freshman? However, he also has a long way to go to be a dominant inside linebacker with a few missed assignments in the passing game and some opportunities missed at the point of attack. Let’s see if he can correct those mistakes and build on a very solid first appearance in a Badger uniform.
Walker Williams, RG — Wisconsin couldn’t run the football at all against Alabama, but many expected the Badgers to attack the left side of the line with the perceived strength. Instead, whatever minor success the Badger had in the run game, it actually came while running to the right. According to Dave Heller of Fox Sports Wisconsin, the Badgers ran to the left seven times for 45 yards and to the right nine times for 16 yards. UW needs to get more out of the right side of the line and Williams is the key to that. He played well in the Alabama game, but there is way more UW can get out of him. If Wisconsin gets the run game going, Williams needs to show he’s the answer at right guard instead of a stop gap.
Drew Meyer, P — Putting up a 37.1 punting average doesn’t seem that great, and it isn’t. However, for Meyer it was a step in a better direction than last season, where he averaged 37.4 yards per punt and ranked last in the Big Ten per CFBStats.com. Will Meyer be used seven times like he was last week? Probably not, but the guy has to give Wisconsin more if they are going to be able to play the field position game. Let’s see if it happens when the pressure is really off of him.
5 Prognostications To Pay Attention To:
5. Taiwan Deal and Dare Ogunbowale both crack the 100-yard mark: If this Miami (OH) defense could give up the farm to Presby-freaking-terian, the Badgers run game could be in for a big day. Both Deal and Ogunbowale have the talent to be really good running backs, but they need to put it down in game action. It wouldn’t surprise me to see both split carries evenly, especially if Corey Clement doesn’t play.
4. Rafael Gaglianone doesn’t kick a single field goal: Oh, he’ll get on the field, but I have a feeling Wisconsin is scoring a lot of touchdowns this week. It wouldn’t be shocking to see this team not need or even want to put its kicker out there for field goals if they are up big like it could be real quickly. So, no fat guy dancing or shenanigans from the kicker this week.
3. Alex Erickson catches 3 touchdowns: Joel Stave to Alex Erickson has been a long-standing thing, and it was a pretty effective thing last week. Stave’s favorite target will finally get to let loose in this game and we’ll see him haul in at least three touchdowns, probably two from play-action passes early on in the contest before he gets sat down with the Badgers up big time.
2. Wisconsin’s defense will create two turnovers: UW did a good job of attacking the Alabama offense, but it couldn’t create a single turnover. That changes, as Wisconsin forces a bad throw or gets a hit that jars loose the ball on quarterback Drew Kummer. It all adds up to a few good opportunities at badly needed turnovers for the Badgers defense.
1. Miami (OH) gets one garbage touchdown in 4th quarter: Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda would love to pitch a shutout each and every week, and there’s a legit chance of it happening this time around against the Redhawks. However, with the game well in hand the backups get in and the Redhawks find a touchdown in the 4th quarter when the score really won’t matter much.