Nebraska heads up to Madison Saturday where the results have been disappointing in their best seasons since joining the Big 10. With an 0-4 start to the 2018 campaign, this is definitely not one of those seasons. Perhaps giving Wisconsin reason to brim with overconfidence is the right strategy to pull this off.
The Badgers had high aspirations when 2018 began, but those took a severe hit after an early upset at the hands of BYU. Can they reasonably fight their way back into the good graces of
a few old farts locked in a room, some of whom even have a football background the CFP Committee?
To fill us in on the current goals for their squad and what they expect the Huskers to bring to the table tomorrow, Jake Kocorowski of Bucky’s 5th Quarter was kind enough to answer some our questions about the upcoming tilt - many thanks to Jake for his time:
Nebraska is averaging 10.5 penalties per game, (good enough for 129th in the country) and Wisconsin is averaging 6.5 penalties per game (72nd in the country). So if we are to set the over/under on total penalties at 17, where are you going to lay your money?
Haha, great question. I’ll actually go under for this one. Wisconsin’s coming off a bye, so the week off could really help sure up some things. Based off of Scott Frost’s press conference earlier this week when asked about the discipline, it sounds like maybe the team has gotten the message as well?
So last year Wisconsin ran the ball to finish the game 22ish times in a row. Was that the proudest a fan base could ever be? Just telling the other team that here you go, just try and stop us. Because you can’t.
Wisconsin’s calling card on offense since Barry Alvarez arrived in Madison has been a solid run-based unit. For that team, it was an impressive display to pull away at the end of the game. The Badgers were only up 24-17 at the time when those 22 straight runs in the fourth quarter started. When it mattered most, the Wisconsin offense asserted itself and it had to have worn down the Nebraska defense.
I feel like there could be a lot of points potentially on Saturday night. We’ll see if Wisconsin’s line can re-assert itself this season as well.
Camembert or Bleu?
I’m actually not a big cheese fan (I know, Wisconsin born and raised, and I hate raw cheese?). I mean, I’ll eat fried cheese curds, consume large quantities of pizza and love a good cheeseburger (cheddar or Swiss). But yeah, not a fan of just plain raw cheese. SHUN ME! @ ME!
Wisconsin dropped out of the national discussion after their loss to BYU. What do you think is a realistic expectation for this team? How high can they go?
That’s the million dollar question honestly. To even be in the discussion for the College Football Playoff, Wisconsin needs to run the table the rest of the season and hope BYU carries a winning record and more. The conference road schedule this season was going to be a lot tougher than last year’s, especially with games at Michigan and Penn State. Wins against the Wolverines, Nittany Lions and whoever comes out of the East (Ohio State?) could be enough for the committee, but a lot has to happen with other teams outside the conference as well.
Realistically, the Big Ten West is definitely winnable and Wisconsin should claim the division. Outside of that, I’m not sure. Can they upset the Wolverines and Nittany Lions in big time games? Those two contests will likely define the season, but then again, they can’t overlook anyone to get to the goals that they want to accomplish. Goals that a couple seniors still mentioned were possible even directly after the loss against BYU. That starts with Nebraska on Saturday.
Jonathan Taylor leads the nation at 157 yards per game, but he is fifth in yardage so far this season. It is a Heisman Trophy still a possibility?
I was always a hint skeptical this season; mostly not because of Taylor himself but because of quarterbacks winning the award mostly, though I still feel the sophomore needs to improve as a passing threat as an all-around back. He is explosive, agile and strong as a rusher, and is mature beyond his years. If he can temper the fumbling problem that’s plagued him early throughout his career and help lift Wisconsin to wins the rest of the regular season, especially on the road and in a potential conference championship game, absolutely. I think he could definitely be a finalist regardless, especially if he leads the nation in rushing.
So far, Nebraska has been inept in nearly every phase of football. Are you at all worried about this game? If so, what match-up worries you most?
As it’s a divisional match-up, I absolutely believe Wisconsin needs to worry about the team in front of them this week, and that’s Nebraska. Despite the record and numbers on paper (especially defensively for the Huskers), I feel like the Big Ten programs like to beat up on each other. Weird things happen, maybe except for Rutgers.
I’m intrigued particularly on how Wisconsin’s defense responds against a Nebraska offense with a dual-threat quarterback in Adrian Martinez and special players at particular skill positions (I like Devine Ozigbo, J.D. Spielman and Stanley Morgan, Jr.). BYU gashed Wisconsin rushing the ball with some jet sweep motion looks, and the defense gave up 404 yards to the Hawkeyes nearly two weeks ago. Can the younger secondary that’s led by the lone senior of the group, safety D’Cota Dixon, ensure Nebraska doesn’t gain huge chunk plays as seen in the past two games through the air? Will Wisconsin, who’s giving up 135 yards rushing per game, clamp down more after giving up 100-plus to BYU and Iowa?
OK, give it to us straight - what’s the final score?
I think Nebraska’s offense could put some yards and points up on the board if Wisconsin isn’t sound in its fundamentals, but looking at the Huskers’ defense and giving up nearly 39 points per contest, that leans heavily in the Badgers’ favor.
I think Wisconsin wins at home under the lights of Camp Randall Stadium in a 41-24 win.