Utah State vs. Wisconsin: NCAA Complete Game Preview

Dave Radcliffe@DaveRadcliffe_Contributor IIISeptember 12, 2012

Utah State vs. Wisconsin: NCAA Complete Game Preview

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    Wisconsin (1-1) and Utah State (2-0) are on opposite ends of the spectrum heading into Saturday's Week 3 clash.

    The Badgers have completely dropped out of the Top 25 after two lackluster performances, while the Aggies are riding all sorts of momentum, coming off their first victory over in-state rival Utah since 1997.

    As Utah State comes into Camp Randall Stadium with a full head of steam, the Badgers are still scratching their heads, trying to figure out what exactly is going on.

    Let's break down every aspect of the upcoming matchup between the Badgers and the Aggies.

GameDay Information

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    Who: Utah State at Wisconsin

    When: 8:00 PM ET

    Where: Madison, WI

    Stadium: Camp Randall Stadium (80,321)

    TV: Big Ten Network

    Radio: Wisconsin stations, Utah State stations

    Internet Stream: KVNU

Depth Chart for Wisconsin

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    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/Dallas Lewallen

    C—Travis Frederick, Dan Voltz

    RG—Zac Matthias, Kyle Costigan/Dallas Lewallen

    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/Vince Biegel

    MLB—Chris Borland, Marcus Trotter

    WLB—Mike Taylor, Derek Landisch

    CB—Devin Smith, Devin Gaulden

    SS—Michael Trotter, Michael Caputo

    FS—Dezmen Southward, Michael Caputo

    CB—Marcus Cromartie, Darius Hillary

    Special Teams:

    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—Kenzel Doe, James White

Depth Chart for Utah State

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    QB—Chuckie Keeton, Adam Kennedy

    RB—Kerwynn Williams, Joe Hill

    WR—Travis Reynolds, Travis Van Leeuwen

    WR—Matt Austin, Brandon Swindall

    WR—Chuck Jacobs, Cameron Webb 

    TE—DJ Tialavea, Brad Theurer

    TE—Kellen Bartlett, Keegan Andersen

    LT—Kevin Whimpey, Logan Molohifo'ou

    LG—Jamie Markosian, Bryce Walker

    C—Tyler Larsen, Taani Fisilau

    RG—Eric Schultz, Kyle Whimpey

    RT—Oscar Molina-Sanchez, Jorden Mattinson


    DE—Al Lapuaho, Jordan Nielsen

    NG—Travis Seefeldt, Havea Lasike

    DE—Connor Williams, BJ Larsen

    OLB—Bojay Filimoeatu, Jefferson Court

    ILB—Jake Doughty, Zach Vigil

    ILB—Tavaris McMillian, Parker Hausknecht

    OLB—Terrell Thompson, Kyler Fackrell

    CB—Jumanne Robertson, Ladale Jackson

    SS—Brian Suite, Frankie Sutera

    FS—McKade Brady, Cameron Sanders

    CB—Nevin Lawson, Rashard Stewart

    Special Teams:

    P—Tyler Bennett, Jaron Bentrude

    K—Nick Diaz, Josh Thompson

    LS—Nate Needham, Mark Hutchinson

    H—Jaron Bentrude

    PR—Chuck Jacobs, Kerwynn Williams

    KR—Kerwynn Williams, Chuck Jacobs

What Happened to the Badgers Last Week

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    A picture's worth a thousand words, and the picture on this slide shows jubilation in Corvallis after the Oregon State Beavers defeated the Wisconsin Badgers, 10-7.

    Quarterback Danny O'Brien was inefficient. The offensive line failed to give Montee Ball any running room while the Oregon State defense gave the Badgers' offense fits all afternoon long.

    A controversial overturned call on a Wisconsin onside kick recovery cut off the Wisconsin comeback attempt, but the fact of the matter is that the Badgers didn't deserve to win on this day.

    The Badgers dropped from No. 13 in the rankings to unranked, and any National Title hopes were diminished.

    Wisconsin's No. 1 receiver, Jared Abbrederis, was knocked out of the game with a chest injury, and starting safety Shelton Johnson suffered a broken arm.

    Here is an update from Bret Bielema on the injuries, per Dave Heller of jsonline.com:

    Bielema: "Knowing Jared, I think he'll be out there with us this weekend." Reiterates Shelton Johnson is out 4-6 weeks. #badgers

    — Dave Heller (@dave_heller) September 11, 2012

What Happened to the Aggies Last Week

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    Utah State featured a crowd-storming of their own after the Aggies knocked off Utah in overtime by the score of 27-20.

    The Aggies are riding some kind of high right now, as it was the first time they defeated the Utes in 15 years. Utah State was led by sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keaton, who threw for 216 yards and two touchdowns while also running for 86 yards.

    The game started off with a bang after the Aggies recovered a blocked punt in the endzone and they rode that early momentum to victory. Now they will try and carry that same momentum on to Madison as the cream of the crop in the WAC.

What It Means to Both Teams

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    What it means to Wisconsin:

    Well, the Badgers didn't exactly make the statement they were hoping for at Oregon State last week. After receiving quite a scare Week 1 from Northern Iowa, they received the ultimate wake-up call from the Beavers last week.

    This game is yet another opportunity for Wisconsin to try and get back on track. It's the first game without offensive line coach Mike Markuson, who was fired Sunday night and replaced by Bart Miller. The change came as a surprise to many, and now the offensive line will have an even larger magnifying glass hovering over it.

    The unit will have to be better this week if Montee Ball has any hopes of a Heisman.

    What it means to Utah State:

    The Aggies have defeated two in-state opponents, but now they must travel to Madison for their biggest test yet. A win could very well vault Utah State into the Top 25, and that would mean a lot for a program that hasn't tasted such a luxury since the 1970s.

    But this team has proven it can compete with the big boys, nearly pulling off an upset at Auburn last season and defeating Utah in the Battle of the Brothers. A victory against Wisconsin would make it back-to-back wins against BCS conference schools.

Key Player for Wisconsin

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    Key Player for Wisconsin: RB Montee Ball

    It's now or never for Montee Ball.

    The Badgers' Heisman finalist from a year ago, Ball has only amassed 181 yards and a 3.9 yards per rush average. Not exactly Heisman-like numbers, but a lot of blame has to be shifted to his atrocious offensive line—or atrociously coached offensive line.

    Now, with a new offensive line coach taking over this week, it will be intriguing to see what kind of impact it has on the performance of the O-line and in turn, Montee Ball. If he can get going, it will open up all kinds of opportunities for the Wisconsin offense and quarterback Danny O'Brien.

    A trip back to Camp Randall may be just what the doctor ordered for Ball and the Badgers. 

Key Player for Utah State

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    Key player for Utah State: QB Chuckie Keeton

    Utah State's dual-threat quarterback Chuckie Keeton has created a spark in the Aggies' offense, and if he can cause fits for the Badgers' defense, than Utah State has a great chance at pulling off the "upset."

    A dual-threat QB forces a defense to come up with a whole new game plan, and Wisconsin will have to strategize accordingly for Keeton. The sophomore took off running 17 times and compiled 86 yards against the Utes.

    Efficiency has been the biggest key to Keeton's success thus far in 2012, and he may try and pick on Badger safety Michael Trotter, who is filling in for the injured Shelton Johnson. His ability to keep defenses honest with his speed will open up the passing game, and that will be the key to Utah State's success on Saturday.

Wisconsin Will Win If ....

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    Wisconsin will win if they can dominate in the trenches.

    Not only has the offensive line failed to create running space for Montee Ball and company, but it also hasn't given Danny O'Brien ample time in the pocket. The defensive line has done an adequate job of holding its own. Now it's time for the O-line to follow suit.

    Head Coach Bret Bielema hopes the firing of line coach Mike Markuson provides a spark (via Jeff Potrykus of jsonline.com), and it better, because tension surrounding the football program is at an all-time high—and it's only Week 3.

    Time will tell if Bart Miller's strategies and schemes rub off on Wisconsin's mammoth offensive line, and if they do on Saturday, the Badgers should be in good shape.

Utah State Will Win If ....

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    Utah State will win if they shut down Montee Ball.

    So far this season, that's been the formula for success against the Badgers. Oregon State held Ball to 61 yards rushing last week, and Wisconsin trailed nearly the entire game. By the fourth quarter, the Badgers had to abandon the run all together in an attempt to get back in the ball game.

    If Montee Ball is a non-factor, this means the Badgers still have the same issues at offensive line, and Utah State should be able to jump out to a lead.

    While it's important to shut down Ball, the Aggies won't want to put all their eggs in one basket. If packing eight in the box means O'Brien having a field day, then this strategy can be thrown right out the window.

    But with the way this Badger O-line has performed, Utah State shouldn't have to do that, and a limited Ball equates to an Aggie victory. 


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    Prediction: Wisconsin 27, Utah State 21

    Based on the results of the first two games, my prediction privileges should be revoked, but since I'm obligated to do so, I'll give the Badgers a slight edge in this one.

    The first two weeks, I have overestimated the Badgers and underestimated their opponent. I'm trying to avoid such arrogance this week, and I believe a nail-biter isn't out of the question even though the line is set at -14 in favor of Wisconsin—why, I have no idea.

    The Badgers' offensive line simply cannot get any worse at this point, can it? I'm banking on improvement, and if we see said improvement Saturday night, Wisconsin will regain some of its mojo.