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Wisconsin vs. Nebraska: Complete Game Preview

Patrick RungeCorrespondent IOctober 11, 2016

Wisconsin vs. Nebraska: Complete Game Preview

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    Who: Wisconsin at Nebraska

    When: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. eastern

    Where: Lincoln, NE

    Stadium: Memorial Stadium (81,067, FieldTurf)

    TV: ABC

    Radio: Husker Sports Network (Gary Sharp play-by-play, Matt Davison color, Lane Grindle sideline)

    Internet Stream: Huskers.com

    Satellite Radio:SXM91

Depth Chart for Nebraska

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    Originally located here.

    Offense

    WR X: Kenny Bell, Tyler Evans

    LT: Brent Qvale, Brandon Thompson

    LG: Seung Hoon Choi, Cole Pensick, Jake Cotton

    C: Justin Jackson, Cole Pensick OR Mark Pelini

    RG: Spencer Long, Broderick Nickens, Ryne Reeves

    RT: Jeremiah Sirles OR Andrew Rodriguez

    TE: Ben Cotton OR Kyler Reed, Jake Long OR Conor McDermott

    WR Z: Quincy Enunwa, Taariq Allen OR Steven Osborne

    WR A: Jamal Turner, Tyler Evans

    QB: Taylor Martines, Ron Kellogg III OR Tommy Armstrong, Jr.

    IB: Rex Burkhead, Ameer Abdullah, Braylon Heard, Imani Cross

    FB: Mike Marrow OR C.J. Zimmerer OR Andy Janovich

    Defense

    DE: Eric Martin OR Jason Ankrah

    DT: Thad Randle, Kevin Williams

    DT: Baker Steinkuhler, Aaron Curry

    DE: Cameron Meredith, Joseph Carter, Avery Moss

    BUCK: Sean Fisher, Alonzo Whaley OR Max Pirman

    MIKE: Will Compton, Trevor Roach, Michael Rose

    WILL: David Santos OR Alonzo Whaley

    CB: Andrew Green, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Antonio Bell

    S: P.J. Smith, Harvey Jackson, Corey Cooper

    S: Daimion Stafford, Courtney Osborne, Justin Blatchford

    CB: Josh Mitchell, Mohammed Seisay, Daniel Davie

    NICKEL: Ciante Evans

    Special Teams

    PK: Brett Maher, Mauro Bondi

    P: Brett Maher, Mauro Bondi

    LS: P.J. Mangieri, Joseph Rotherham

    KO: Brett Maher, Mauro Bondi

    HOLD: Jase Dean

    KOR: Ameer Abdullah, Kenny Bell, Jamal Turner, Braylon Heard

    PR: Ameer Abdullah, Kenny Bell, Rex Burkhead

Depth Chart for Wisconsin

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    Originally located here.

    Offense:

    QB: Joel Stave, Danny O’Brien

    RB: Montee Ball, James White

    FB: Derek Watt, Sherard Cadogan

    WR: Jared Abbrederis, Reggie Love

    WR: Jordan Frederick, A.J. Jordan

    WR: Kenzel Doe, Jeff Duckworth

    TE: Jacob Pedersen, Sam Arneson

    TE: Brian Wozniak, Brock DeCicco

    LT: Rick Wagner, Tyler Marz

    LG: Ryan Groy, Dallas Lewallen

    C: Travis Frederick, Dan Voltz

    RG: Kyle Costigan, Zac Matthias

    RT: Rob Havenstein, Robert Burge

    Defense

    DE: David Gilbert, Konrad Zagzebski

    DT: Beau Allen, Bryce Gilbert

    DT: Ethan Hemer, Warren Herring

    DE: Tyler Dippel OR Brendan Kelly, Jesse Hayes

    SLB: Ethan Armstrong, Conor O’Neill OR Vince Biegel

    MLB: Chris Borland, Marcus Trotter

    WLB: Mike Taylor, Derek Landisch

    CB: Marcus Cromartie, Devin Gaulden

    SS: Michael Trotter, Michael Caputo

    FS: Dezmen Southward, Darius Hillary

    CB: Devin Smith, Reggie Mitchell

    Special Teams

    P: Drew Meyer, Stephen Salata

    K(FG): Jack Russell, Kyle French

    KO: Jack Russell, Kyle French

    LS: James McGuire, Connor Udelhoven

    H: Stephen Salata, Drew Meyer

    PR: Kenzel Doe, James White

    KR: Melvin Gordon, James White

What Happened to the Cornhuskers Last Week

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    Nebraska beat Idaho State, an FCS school, 73-7 in Lincoln. The game saw the return of Rex Burkhead, who had not played since early in the season opener due to a knee injury. Burkhead and the Cornhuskers were ahead 35-0 at the end of the first quarter (!) and the game was functionally a controlled scrimmage against a hopelessly outmanned Idaho State squad from that point forward.

What Happened to the Badgers Last Week?

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    Wisconsin beat UTEP 37-26 in Madison but saw running back Montee Ball, a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, leave the game with a head injury. The Badgers trailed 6-2 after the first quarter but put up 21 second quarter points to lead 23-9 at halftime. But the Miners hung around, pulling to within four in the fourth quarter before Wisconsin put the game out of reach.

What It Means to Both Teams

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    The game is the conference opener for both teams, which carries obvious significance. Nebraska has a score to settle after being soundly beaten by Wisconsin a year ago, and wants to avoid starting conference play in the hole for a second straight year. But Wisconsin may have more to prove. At 3-1 and with a number of questions swirling around the squad, the Badgers have the opportunity to play well in Lincoln and silence a lot of their critics.

Key Player for Nebraska

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    Taylor Martinez. While Wisconsin has not been dominant in areas you would normally expect it to be, the Badgers are fourteenth in the country in defending the run.

    That means Nebraska’s rushing attack will face its stiffest challenge of the season. If Martinez can continue his conference-leading pass efficiency, though, he can force the Badgers defense to respect the pass and open more space for NU’s rushing attack.

Key Player for Wisconsin

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    James White. While Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema has said he isn’t “overly concerned” about Montee Ball’s ability to play against Nebraska (according to CBSSports.com), there has to be at least some question as to Ball’s ability to be Wisconsin’s workhorse.

    But White is a dangerous back in his own right, with the speed to threaten the edge that Ball lacks. It may be White, rather than Ball, that the Badgers will have to lean on for a victory.

Nebraska Will Win If...

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    … it can stop the run. Even with Wisconsin’s struggles and Montee Ball’s injury, the game still sets up as the Badgers’ power running attack against Nebraska’s front seven.

    As we have seen during the season, the front seven for Nebraska may be the softest part of the team. So if Wisconsin’s strength can find success against Nebraska’s weakness, the Badgers can control the tempo and the clock and get their season back on track with a win.

Wisconsin Will Win If...

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    … the Badgers’ quarterback finds some success. Last year in Madison, Russell Wilson put on a master class in leading the Badgers to a second-half blowout of Nebraska.

    Wisconsin tried to recapture the magic with another transfer quarterback in Danny O’Brien, who has not been nearly as successful. O’Brien has lost his starting job to Joel Stave, who went 12-17 for 210 yards against UTEP.

    While the focus will be on Wisconsin’s rushing attack, if Stave is able to do some damage then Wisconsin could outscore Nebraska.

Prediction

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    There is a lot riding on this game, and not just because Nebraska and Wisconsin will be wearing adidas’ “Unrivaled” uniforms for the game. Although both teams are 3-1, Wisconsin has been in turmoil this season, firing its offensive line coach and changing quarterbacks. The Badgers likely need this win, in some ways, more than Nebraska.

    Further, the scenario sets up poorly for Nebraska. Wisconsin comes in as a 13-point underdog, which should be a good thing for NU. But Pelini’s Cornhuskers have struggled when put in this position. The game bears eerie similarities to the 2010 contest against Texas, where Nebraska lost a revenge game at home to a team it was favored to beat.

    Ultimately, though, Russell Wilson will not be walking through that door to face Nebraska in Lincoln on Saturday. And it was Wilson who was the difference in Madison the year before. Look for the game to be close, but for Nebraska to start this B1G campaign off more successfully.

     

    Fearless Forecast: Nebraska 27, Wisconsin 20 

    If you would like to contact Patrick directly to schedule an interview, to ask a question or to get his recipe for a killer peach cobbler, send an email to patrickrunge@gmail.com. (DISCLAIMER: Peach cobbler recipe might not be all that killer.)

    Or you could always patrickrunge

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