Coming off a 73-7 thrashing of Idaho State, No. 22 Nebraska is looking to uproot reigning Big Ten champions, Wisconsin.
Wisconsin isn't the same team it was the past two years, with a freshman quarterback currently starting and a pass defense that leaves a lot to be desired.
Nebraska hopes quarterback Taylor Martinez plays well in Lincoln and doesn't show the disappointing form he displayed against UCLA in Week 2.
Here's a look at Saturday's Big Ten clash.
Where: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
When: Saturday, Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: BTN2GO
Betting Line: Nebraska -12.5, Over/Under 50.5, via ScoresAndOdds.com
What's At Stake?
After capturing the Big Ten championship the past two years under former quarterback Russell Wilson, Wisconsin (3-1) is looking to do the same this year, currently trailing 4-0 Ohio State in the Leaders division.
Nebraska, on the other hand, went 9-4 (5-3) in its first year in the Big Ten last season, ultimately losing to then-No. 9 South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl.
The Cornhuskers are vying for their first Big Ten title.
Injury Report (via USA Today)
RB Montee Ball - Head - Questionable
DL Pat Muldoon - Thumb - Questionable
DB Shelton Johnson - Arm - OUT until at least early November
WR Isaiah Williams - Groin - OUT indefinitely
LB Cody Byers - Concussion - OUT for season
WR Tyler Wullenwaber - Knee - OUT indefinitely
WR Tim Marlowe - Collarbone - OUT indefinitely
What They're Saying
The big word around Wisconsin football lately (despite that, ahem, Packers-Seahawks game) has been the status of Badgers running back Montee Ball.
Ball sustained his second concussion in less than eight weeks in last week's 37-26 victory over UTEP. He's listed as "questionable," but there was an "upgrade" in his status on Tuesday, according to the Washington State Journal. Head coach Bret Bielema said Ball would do some running and conditioning on Wednesday and the medical staff will reassess him on Thursday.
The senior came into this season as a legitimate Heisman contender after totaling over 2,200 yards and 39 touchdowns last season.
Wisconsin Player to Watch: Joel Stave, QB
While replacing Danny O'Brien in last week's win over UTEP, freshman quarterback Joel Stave went 12-of-17 for 210 yards, one touchdown and one interception, including a 47-yard strike to Jared Abbrederis.
If Ball misses time, Stave and running backs James White and Melvin Gordon will have to pick up the slack, as they did against the Miners.
Nebraska has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete just 50 percent of their passes for 5.3 yards per attempt this season. The pass defense will be a challenge for Stave and Co.
Nebraska Player to Watch: Taylor Martinez, QB
This team rises and falls with Taylor Martinez, as we've seen in the past. The team still has a strong running game, but—as we saw against UCLA—Martinez can be inconsistent.
Martinez has completed 70 percent of his passes this season for 878 yards and nine touchdowns to one interception, but went 17-of-31 for 179 yards and an interception in the 36-30 loss to UCLA.
The Wisconsin pass defense has been far from perfect. The Badgers have allowed 245.3 passing yards per game and eight passing touchdowns in four games. This is a defense Martinez can play well against.
Key Matchup: Wisconsin Passing Attack vs. Nebraska Pass Defense
Despite having a solid running game, Wisconsin is still fielding an inexperienced quarterback in Stave. That could come back to bite the Badgers against the Cornhuskers' pass defense.
Wisconsin rushed 40 times against UTEP, while Stave only got 17 pass attempts. That strategy gives Wisconsin a better chance to upset Nebraska. The Badgers must pound the ball up the middle and use a conservative approach with Stave.
Prediction: Nebraska 30, Wisconsin 20
The Nebraska rushing attack, combined with Martinez and the pass defense, should ultimately see the Cornhuskers win this game, but the Wisconsin running game should do some damage, too, with or without Ball.
In the end, I see Nebraska avoiding an upset and rolling along.
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