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Wisconsin Badger Preview

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The Film Room

Let's start off with some moving pictures and stuff. First take a look at what Wisconsin likes to do in the running game.


NCAA Football Highlights on Veoh.com

Now this is just a small sample of plays, but you notice they like to run out of the power sets. Lots of tight ends and fullbacks. You see they like to run some option too and Donovan is an effective weapon. On almost every play you see a lineman pulling down the line too. It's just good old fashion smash mouth football. Here it comes. Try to stop it.  Now let's take a look at the passing game.


NCAA Football Highlights on Veoh.com

You can see the Badgers will spread you out when they want to pass. But from the first video it appears they don't run from the spread very often. This could make it pretty easy for the defense to key on the passing plays.

Injury Report

Wisconsin is pretty banged up. P.J. Hill is nursing an injured groin. This should severely limit his cutting ability, not that he had much to begin with. Hill is a north-south runner. Get him going sideways and he goes down faster than a house of cards in a hurricane.

His backup, Lance Smith, is suspended from traveling with the team on road games. So unless Cheaty McCheater Bielema goes back on his word we won't see him.

Paul Hubbard, who was second on the team in receptions last year, is out a few more weeks with a knee injury. The number two receiver this year, Luke Swan, is out for the rest of the year with a torn hamstring. On offense, the Badgers are missing a lot of weapons.

Defensively the Badgers will have to play without Elijah Hodge who is one of their leaders at middle linebacker.

Statistically Speaking

So what can we gather from this? Wisconsin has the advantage on offense, but not by much. Maybe four or five first downs per game. But the difference on defense is glaring. Penn State dominates in rushing defense, total defense, and scoring defense. So on paper it looks like Wisconsin is going to have more trouble scoring on offense.

Penn State holds the advantage in all the special teams categories. With the exception of net punting they're all pretty close. Penn State should hold a slight advantage on special teams.

The stat that sticks out to me is turnover margin. This is probably the only team we'll play the rest of the year with a TO margin worse than ours. Close inspection though reveals that Wisconsin actually has the advantage here. Our margin is high because we turn the ball over a lot. Theirs is high because their defense doesn't force a lot of turnovers. They've only turned the ball over nine times in six games. Compare that to 16 turnovers for the Nittany Lions and I wouldn't say the Badgers have a turnover problem.

Prediction

I have no idea what to expect in this game. Well, I know what to expect from Wisconsin. I just don't feel comfortable about our offense. If we limit the turnovers to two or less I think we win. If we commit more than two turnovers we lose. Just for the heck of it...

Team Comparison
Statistical Category Wisconsin Penn State Advantage
Rushing Offense (ypg) 192 179.5
Passing Offense (ypg) 238.2 224.3
Pass Efficiency Offense 144.4 128.29
Total Offense (ypg) 430.2 403.8
Scoring Offense (ppg) 31.2 31.8
Rushing Defense (ypg) 152.8 80.5
Passing Defense (ypg) 216 172.7
Pass Efficiency Defense 130.8 103.3
Total Defense (ypg) 368.8 253.2
Scoring Defense (ppg) 23.8 13.7
Net Punting (yards) 33.0 39.9
Punt Returns (yards) 8.7 13.5
Kickoff Returns (yards) 19.9 20.8
Turnover Margin -0.83 -0.67
Sacks Per Game 2.5 4.0
Tackles for Loss 5.67 9.17
Sacks Allowed Per Game 2.0 2.2
Wisconsin 17
Penn State 20