Wisconsin vs. Oregon St: Badgers RB Montee Ball Set to Build Heisman Momentum

Steven GerwelFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 8, 2012

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 01:  Running back Montee Ball #28 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs the ball against the Northern Iowa Panthers on September 1, 2012 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Tom Lynn/Getty Images)
Tom Lynn/Getty Images

Last season, Wisconsin Badgers running back Montee Ball took the Big-10 by storm after rushing for 1,923 yards and tying Barry Sanders' NCAA touchdown record with 39 total scores. 

Ball's phenomenal season was one of the more prolific NCAA performances of the 2011 season. His production allowed the Badgers to finish as the No. 7-ranked team in the nation, and he finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting. 

It can be argued that Ball was robbed of the Heisman due to the voters showing favoritism for the quarterback position, but you can bet that he'll be getting the proper amount of attention in 2012 thanks to his terrific performance a year ago. 

Last week, Ball only averaged 3.8 yards per carry against Northern Iowa, but was able to finish with 120 rushing yards and a touchdown.

This week, Ball will have another chance to shine against an inferior opponent as the Badgers travel to Oregon State to take on the Beavers. 

The Wisconsin Badgers will take on the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday, September 8, at 4 a.m. ET. 

The game will provide Ball with the perfect opportunity to not only inflate his stats, but carry the Badgers to a 2-0 record. 


What to Expect From Montee Ball Against Oregon State

This will be the second time Montee Ball has played against the Oregon State Beavers in his career. 

Last season, during Ball's first career game against Oregon State, he carried the ball only 18 times but was able to put 118 yards and two touchdowns. He finished with an 6.6 yards per carry average. 

Ball will surely see more than 18 carries this time around, which will allow for an even more impressive performance than he had a year ago. 

Oregon State was absolutely miserable against the run last season. They had the worst run defense in the Pac-12 after allowing a shocking 196.8 rushing yards per game on average. 

To make matters worse, the Beavers made no real additions to their front eight in the offseason. They're banking on the current players improving with additional experience. 

With no real improvements up front, there's no reason to believe that they can contain Ball. 

Also, the Beavers didn't have a chance to get into rhythm during opening week last Saturday, which could also hurt them.

Oregon State's season opener against Nicholls State was postponed due to weather (according to ESPN), so the Beavers defense will be thrown to the wolves as they take on arguably the top running back in the nation during their first game of the year. 

Overall, Ball's second game of the season will be the perfect opportunity to create some highlight reels in what should be a Heisman-worthy season.