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The defensive matchup between the Badgers stout, but somewhat porous defensive line and Chip Kelly’s offensive point-making machine will be well worth the scalped ticket prices.
The Ducks rank fifth in FBS overall standings and will test Wisconsin’s defense that’s shown it’s vulnerability in the waning minutes of big games.
The Badger defense ranks sixth in the nation in total yards allowed and averages 17.0 points per game. Compare this to Oregon’s third-best 46.2 points per game and you have an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object playing itself in front of a national audience.
Oregon’s speedy running back LaMichael James will test the edges and therefore the defensive resolve of a Badger team gifted at stuffing the middle of the field. The Badgers must be prepared for the full 160 foot East-West containment, or they’ll be in for a long day.
Oregon will no doubt try to turn the game into a track meet, with speedy receivers stretching the field and quarterback Darron Thomas keeping the offensive play metronome ticking away at an exhausting tempo.
His thrash-metal style will be a true test for a Badger team steeped in Midwestern smashmouth ball that tends to be more methodical and deliberate. The inherent tension in Oregon’s approach, however, is that with all their points scored, the Ducks rank last in time of possession.
If this stat holds up in Pasadena, the more U.O. scores and scores fast, the more pressure they’ll be applying to their own defense to stop a gigantic, high-scoring offensive monster in red. Rich problems to have, but problems nonetheless.
If the corn-fed Badgers can glide more than galumph north, south, east and west, they’ll bring the Ducks tempo down to a waltz and most likely win the game.