Wisconsin vs. Oregon State: NCAA Complete Game Preview
Any guesses on how many points Oregon State put up last season in Madison against Wisconsin?
A big, fat zero.
That's right. The Badgers shut out the Beavers 35-0 in the second week of the 2011 college football season.
This time, it's No. 13 Wisconsin's turn to hit the road. The Badgers will visit Corvallis on Saturday to see if they can complete the home-and-away sweep of Oregon State.
Here is everything you need to know about this pivotal Week 2 matchup.
Depth Chart for Wisconsin
QB—Danny O'Brien, Joel Stave/Curt Phillips
RB—Montee Ball, James White
FB—Derek Watt, Sherard Cadogan
WR—Jared Abbrederis, Reggie Love
WR—Jordan Frederick, Jeff Duckworth
WR—Kenzel Doe, AJ Jordan
TE—Jacob Pedersen, Sam Arneson
TE—Brian Wozniak, Brock DeCicco
LT—Rick Wagner, Tyler Marz
LG—Ryan Groy, Ray Ball
C—Travis Frederick, Dan Voltz
RG—Zac Matthias, Kyle Costigan
RT—Rob Havenstein, Robert Burge
DE—David Gilbert, Pat Muldoon
DT—Ethan Hemer, Bryce Gilbert
DT—Beau Allen, Warren Herring
DE—Brendan Kelly, Tyler Dippel
SLB—Ethan Armstrong, Conor O'Neill
MLB—Chris Borland, Marcus Trotter
WLB—Mike Taylor, Derek Landisch
CB—Devin Smith, Devin Gaulden
SS—Shelton Johnson, Michael Caputo
FS—Dezmen Southward, Michael Trotter
CB—Marcus Cromartie, Darius Hillary
P—Drew Meyer, Stephen Salata
K/KO—Kyle French, Jack Russell
LS—James McGuire, Connor Udelhoven
H—Stephen Salata, Drew Meyer
PR—Jared Abbrederis, Kenzel Doe
KR—Jared Abbrederis, James White
Depth Chart for Oregon State
QB—Sean Mannion, Cody Vaz
RB—Storm Woods, Malcolm Agnew
FB—Clayton York, Tyler Anderson
WR—Brandin Cooks, Micah Hatfield
WR—Markus Wheaton, Richard Mullaney
SB—Kevin Cummings, Obum Gwacham
HB—Tyler Perry, Kellen Clute
TE—Colby Prince, Connor Hamlett
LT—Michael Phillip, Derek Nielsen
LG—Josh Andrews, Josh Mitchell
C—Isaac Seumalo, Roman Sapolu
RG—Grant Enger, Jake Welch
RT—Colin Kelly, Gavin Andrews
DE—Scott Crichton, John Braun
DT—Castro Masaniai, Joe Lopez
DT—Andrew Seumalo, Mana Rosa
DE—Dylan Wynn, Rudolf Fifita
SLB—DJ Welch, Jabral Johnson
MLB—Feti Taumoepeau, Rueben Robinson
WLB—Michael Doctor, Shaydon Akuna
CB—Jordan Poyer, Brian Watkins
SS—Anthony Watkins, Tyrequek Zimmerman
FS—Ryan Murphy, Peter Ashton
CB—Rashaad Reynolds, Mishawn Cummings
P—Keith Kostol, Tim McMullen
K/KO—Trevor Romaine, Keith Kostol
H—Tim McMullen, Keith Kostol
PR—Jordan Poyer, Markus Wheaton
KR—Malcolm Marable, Brandin Cooks
What Happened to the Badgers Last Week
The Badgers won their opener, but sputtered to a five point win in what should have been an easily dominant performance.
After jumping out to a 19 point lead—twice—Northern Iowa fought back and even had the ball in Wisconsin territory with a chance to take the lead late in the fourth quarter.
But defensive tackle Ethan Hemer batted down a pass on fourth down with 2:40 remaining, and the Badgers escaped with a 26-21 victory in a game where many expected Wisconsin to win by 30.
Danny O'Brien shined, going 19-of-23 for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his TDs were hauled in by No. 1 receiver Jared Abbrederis. Montee Ball struggled by his standards, rushing 32 times for 120 yards and a score.
What Happened to the Beavers Last Week
As a result of Hurricane-then-Tropical Storm Isaac, Nicholls State did not make the trip up to Corvallis to face Oregon State last week. The Beavers, therefore, have yet to begin their season. Unlike the Badgers, they will not have the benefit of a "warm up" game heading into Week 2.
While Oregon State may need some time to shake off the rust, it will have an advantage in the game preparation department since the Badgers won't have any tape of the Beavers playing in 2012. Even though Wisconsin said they wouldn't provide any video, Oregon State can still review last week's Big Ten Network coverage of the No. Iowa/Wisconsin game.
What It Means to Both Teams
What it means to Wisconsin:
After last week's scare, the Badgers would like nothing more to put together a solid-from-start-to-finish performance against Oregon State. This would not only silence some critics, but it would also help Wisconsin regain some of its swagger as it gets closer to Big Ten play. If this week turns out to be another squeaker, win or lose, people will keep talking, and the Badgers will still have that little voice of doubt in the back of their minds.
It's also a good opportunity for Montee Ball to get back on track. Another spotty performance could leave him on the outside looking in when it comes to the Heisman race.
What it means to Oregon State:
Forget about an early-season tune-up—the Beavers are getting thrown into the fire by having to face a top 25 opponent right off the bat.
A victory would mean the world to a team that only managed three wins last year, and to a coach who appears to be on the hot seat entering the season.
Head Coach Mike Riley is entering his 12th season with the Beavers, and after five straight winning seasons, Oregon State has only won eight games in its past two campaigns. To win—or at least keep it close—against Wisconsin would give Riley and his squad a boost heading into conference play.
Key Player for Wisconsin
Key player for Wisconsin: QB Danny O'Brien
When Montee Ball is on, so are the Badgers.
Last week, Ball only managed 3.8 yards per carry, and Wisconsin only managed to win by five against Northern Iowa.
How many games did Ball average under four yards a rush in 2011? None.
Then again, he also had the best offensive line in the nation in 2011, whereas in 2012, there are three new faces blocking for him up front.
That's where Danny O'Brien steps in.
If Ball is contained again this week, O'Brien will have to step up like he did against No. Iowa, a game where he completed 82.6 percent of his passes. Talk about efficiency.
This time, O'Brien won't have the luxury of playing at home. We'll get to see how he handles the pressure of a road game in a hostile environment.
If O'Brien can duplicate what he did against the Panthers, the Badgers shouldn't have to sweat out another close game.
Key Player for Oregon State
Key player for Oregon State: WR Markus Wheaton
Wheaton is one of the most underrated wide receivers not only in the Pac 12, but in all of college football. Last season, Wheaton had 73 receptions for 986 yards on a three win team. Not bad. Few are aware of the talent the senior wideout possesses, and if Wisconsin isn't one of those few, it will be in for a rude awakening on Saturday.
Oregon State saw just how much the Badgers struggled versus the pass against Northern Iowa, an FCS school with a freshman quarterback—playing in Camp Randall Stadium in his college debut. Well, the Beavers have a Division I sophomore quarterback in Sean Mannion playing at home, and if they are smart, they will come after the Badgers with an all-out aerial assault to get the crowd into the game early.
It will be up to Wheaton to break open against Wisconsin's No. 1 corner Devin Smith and create havoc in the Badgers' secondary for the Beavers to have a chance at the upset.
Wisconsin Will Win If ....
Wisconsin will win if it can fix its pass defense woes.
The Badgers were torched for 265 yards last week, including touchdown passes of 55 and 31 yards in the fourth quarter. After appearing to have the game under control in the first half, things completely fell apart at the second level of the defense, especially as the game wore on.
Wisconsin's back seven is composed of five seniors and two juniors. Its experience and familiarity with one another should help the D-backs and linebackers put last week behind them and figure out what exactly went wrong.
Markus Wheaton poses a much bigger threat than Northern Iowa's David Johnson, who went over the century mark last week in receiving yards. If Wisconsin can contain that threat, the Badgers will put themselves in a good position to win on Saturday.
Oregon State Will Win If ....
Oregon State will win if it can expose the Wisconsin secondary.
We know that the Badgers are going to put up points one way or another. Danny O'Brien has shown he can take advantage of the main focus being placed on the Wisconsin run game.
Therefore, the Beavers will have to try and keep pace, and in order to do that, they will attempt to pick on a unit that had its fair share of issues against Northern Iowa.
Quarterback Sean Mannion has a year of experience under his belt as well as a security blanket in Markus Wheaton. If those two can get on the same page, look out.
If last season and game one of 2012 is any indication, it's going to take at least 30 points for the Beavers to have a chance at defeating the Badgers.
Can Oregon State manage 30 in Corvallis on Saturday? We'll soon find out.
Prediction: Wisconsin 31, Oregon State 17
The Badgers will survive their first road test thanks to a bounce-back performance by Montee Ball, a proficient Danny O'Brien and the defense doing just enough to slow the Beavers' passing attack.
With Wisconsin coming in as eight point favorites, this would be a better-than-expected performance for the Badgers, who could use a confidence booster after last week's near-debacle.
The secondary will have its moments yet again, but the Beavers simply don't have enough weapons on offense or enough talent on defense to pull off the upset.
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