Wisconsin didn't play as intended in their Week 1 victory over Northern Iowa, but a win is a win. Oregon State's game against Nicholls State was postponed, so they didn't even have a chance to earn a victory.
The Beavers are coming off a three-win season. If they can't make some sort of improvement, head coach Mike Riley could be on the hot seat.
Wisconsin's Week 1 win is a building block to another successful season in Madison. They won 11 games last year and were two Hail Marys away from being perfect in the regular season.
Let's preview this Week 2 matchup from top to bottom.
Where: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, OR
When: Saturday, September 8 at 4 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Wisconsin (-7.5), according to covers.com
What's at Stake?
This game means a lot to both teams, but for completely different reasons.
The Beavers' opening game against Nicholls State was postponed because of weather related to Hurricane Isaac. Instead of using Week 1 as a valuable tuneup, the Beavers enter this matchup cold.
Wisconsin did play in Week 1, but they didn't play well. They sneaked by Northern Iowa 26-21, but they were outscored in the second half. They nearly lost the game, and they may have if Ethan Hemer hadn't knocked down Sawyer Kollmorgen's pass late in the fourth quarter.
The Badgers were expected to trounce the Panthers in their opening game, and the Beavers just expected to play in Week 1.
Either way, both teams expected to have a much different feeling entering this week's game.
If Wisconsin turns in another subpar performance, people will start to wonder. Oregon State just wants to get their season started on the right note.
Injury Report (via USA Today)
No injuries to report
WR Chase Hammond - Foot - Questionable
LB Vince Biegel - Foot - Questionable
What They're Saying
Oregon State cornerback Jordan Poyer had this to say to Statesman Journal reporter Gary Horowitz:
“I’m just tired going against our own guys,” cornerback Jordan Poyer said. “As much as I like going against Markus (Wheaton) and Brandon Cooks, I wanna show it against someone else.”
I'm sure the Beavers are chomping at the bit to get on the field. They should have plenty of energy when they take the field in front of their home crowd on Saturday.
The Badgers' new quarterback, Danny O'Brien, had a decent game against the Panthers in Week 1. He went 12-of-23 for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
The Associated Press (via FOXSports.com) gives us some of O'Brien's thoughts following the game:
''For the most part in the passing game I thought we were OK,'' O'Brien said. ''Protection-wise was good. But just a few mental errors that you can't have, and things that could potentially get you beat. But it's a lot easier cleaning it up after a win than a loss, obviously.''
Oregon State Player to Watch: Sean Mannion, QB
Mannion threw for 3,328 yards, 16 touchdowns and 18 interceptions last season and will look to improve on that mark in 2012.
The 6'5'' sophomore will have senior receiver Markus Wheaton back, and that should aid his development for the Beavers.
Wisconsin will focus on their ground game, but you can expect Oregon State to give Mannion a chance to make plays down the field.
Wisconsin Player to Watch: Danny O'Brien, QB
It's not hard to guess Montee Ball's production for the Badgers, and O'Brien will be the deciding factor in most games this season.
I already mentioned his line from Week 1, but this week's game will be a little stiffer challenge.
All eyes will be on O'Brien all year long as he tries to replace Russell Wilson behind center and keep the Badgers in the Big Ten title hunt.
He's a capable signal-caller, but his ability to adjust to the Wisconsin offense will determine how far he takes them.
Key Matchup: Montee Ball vs. Oregon State Run Defense
Ball carried the ball 32 times for 120 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. He's the backbone of Wisconsin's offense, and the Beavers must stifle him if they want to win.
Oregon State's front seven is experienced, but they must show some talent to stop Ball. They will also have to stop James White, but Ball will get the ball early and often.
It's simple. If Oregon State shuts Ball down, they have a chance. If they can't, this game is already over.
Prediction: Wisconsin 27, Oregon State 13
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