Big Ten Championship Game 2012: What to Expect in Nebraska vs. Wisconsin Clash

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Big Ten Championship Game 2012: What to Expect in Nebraska vs. Wisconsin Clash
Eric Francis/Getty Images

The Wisconsin Badgers may be the defending Big Ten conference champions, but that doesn't mean they'll repeat as conference kings inside Lucas Oil Stadium this Saturday night.

After all, the Badgers were a mediocre 4-4 in Big Ten play this fall, while their opponent, No. 12 Nebraska, won seven of eight in the conference to secure an unassisted berth in Week 14's championship matchup. Wisconsin is only suiting up this weekend because both Ohio State and Penn State are serving postseason bans. 

But despite how both teams got here, the game must be played. Here's what you can expect from each squad in this Saturday's Big Ten title clash.

 

Montee Ball Will Surpass 100 Yards

Eric Francis/Getty Images

Wisconsin senior running back Montee Ball has rushed for more than 3,400 yards over the past two seasons, and will be a lock to rush for 100-plus yards on Saturday night vs. Nebraska.

Ball rushed for 93 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries against the Cornhuskers back in September, giving him the confidence to know he can do it again when the stakes are even higher in this weekend's Big Ten Championship Game.

Throw in the fact that Ball has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of his last three games, plus the fact that Nebraska ranks 75th in the nation defending the run (166 rushing yards per game allowed) this season, and the recipe is there for a huge game from Montee Ball.

Ball has rushed for at least 100 yards in eight of 12 games this season for Wisconsin, and his fumble late in the game against Nebraska earlier this year has him eyeing redemption.

 

Taylor Martinez Will Shine Once Again

Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez has rushed for more than 100 yards in four games this season, one of which was against Wisconsin more than two months ago (as seen above).

Martinez rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown against the Badgers, while throwing for 181 yards and two more scores. The Cornhuskers will need the junior signal caller to be at his very best again this Saturday, and my guess is that he'll deliver—as he has all season long.

Martinez has led the 'Huskers to six straight victories in 2012, and has them poised to earn a Rose Bowl berth this Saturday night in Indianapolis. 

Despite so much being on the line, if Martinez can put together another 280-yard, three-touchdown effort against Wisconsin on Saturday, then there's no reason why Nebraska shouldn't come out on top for the second time this year.

 

The Cornhuskers Will Survive

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Outside of Ohio State, no other team in the Big Ten has been as dominant or consistent as Nebraska since the start of the season. That's why the Cornhuskers will win their first-ever Big Ten title this weekend.

Nebraska has already proven it can beat the defending Big Ten champion Badgers, and is on a mighty roll having won its last six overall.

The 'Huskers have a lethal playmaker at the most important position in quarterback Taylor Martinez, and are the hotter team by far (Wisconsin has lost its last two coming in, both in OT), which will make all the difference in this matchup.

Nebraska 27, Wisconsin 20

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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