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The Badgers had a lot of success on the ground against LSU, they will need to keep that up against Western Illinois.
Forget the Forward Pass Exists
Against LSU, the Badgers racked up 318 total yards of offense, a somewhat respectable total. Of those, 268 came on the ground, good for 28th best in the country. Unfortunately for the Badgers offense, that only leaves 50 yards through the air, which came on a whopping 24 passes.
Tanner McEvoy did some really good things with his feet, managing to extend plays and drives with his legs and picked up 40 rushing yards on six attempts, all while not getting sacked. That was the good. The bad was that in the second half through the air, McEvoy went 3-of-10 for 17 yards and two interceptions.
Whether it's McEvoy or Stave who is named the starter, they will have to do better than 2.1 yards per attempt. Beyond that, the Badgers should just abandon their passing game, though on a September morning, they are probably better off working on their passing game than abandoning it.
The most effective the Badgers offense has been in a post-Russell Wilson world was when they threw the ball 10 times in the whole game against Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship in 2012, when Curt Phillips went 6-of-8 and the team carried the ball 50 times, en route to a 70-31 victory.
With Coach Andersen's preference for a mobile quarterback and D.J. Gillins not taking a redshirt yet, I wouldn't throw it out of the realm of possibility that we see him get snaps in this game once it's out of reach, which should happen sometime before the wave in the second quarter.
Losing Konrad Zagzebski was a big blow, and word still has yet to come out as to the extent of the injury, but with my untrained, non-medical eye, his injury looked really bad and at this point, one just has to hope for his general health and well-being.
Losing Zagzebski on its own is not the worst thing, though it did force Warren Herring to the inside. With that being said, the Badgers got quicker on the end, replacing the sturdier Zagzebski with Alec James, who, paired with Chikwe Obasih, form quite the formidable tandem.
It was Herring's injury, which also looked quite serious, though in a football-injury sort of way as opposed to life-altering, that really set the Badgers back as their already-thin defensive line was exposed by the LSU rushing attack as simple dive and power plays exposed the inexperienced and light front seven.
Furthermore, Melvin Gordon saw only three carries after opening the second half with a 63-yard scamper, which may be attributable to a hamstring tweak, though Coach Andersen defensively declined comment on the matter and claimed he wasn't hurt in one of the stranger postgame press conferences.
Whether or not Gordon was hurt against LSU, keeping him and all of the regulars healthy against a Leathernecks team that really shouldn't give them much trouble is of the utmost importance.