Wisconsin Football: Montee Ball and 5 Badgers Who Will Run All Over Oregon
The Wisconsin Badgers are playing in consecutive Rose Bowls and have been crowned Big Ten Champions two years running. There are five players on the Badgers that are slated to run over Oregon and avenge last season's Rose Bowl loss to TCU.
No matter the opponent, Wisconsin has not had much trouble putting up points on the board in 2011. The Badgers rank fourth nationally in scoring offense at almost 45 points per game. They also rank 15th in total offense (466.9 yards per game).
After an appearance in the national title game and a Rose Bowl appearance this season, no player or coach in the Badgers game will take the Oregon Ducks lightly.
Here are five Badgers, including Montee Ball, that are poised to have big games against Oregon.
Russell Wilson has been brilliant for the Badgers this season. The fifth-year senior has thrown for 31 touchdowns and just three interceptions en route to all-conference honors.
After a two interception performance in Wisconsin's first loss to Michigan State, Wilson came back and darted three touchdown passes while completing almost 71 percent of his passes in a three-point victory over Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game.
Wilson ranks second in the country with a QB rating of 191.6, fourth in completion percentage at 72.5 percent, and second in yards per attempt (10.1).
Oregon has been known to use mass substitutions along the defensive front, which has led to 43 sacks in 2011.
Russell Wilson has shown a consistent ability to avoid the sack and prolong plays. These improvised plays orchestrated by Wilson will be vital for the Badgers.
The sophomore walk-on does not boast eye-popping athleticism but has been one of the most consistent targets for Russell Wilson this season and earned all-conference honors at both receiver and punt returner.
He is known for stepping up in big games.
Against Nebraska, Abbbrederis posted five receptions and a touchdown.
Despite consecutive losses to Michigan State and Ohio State, he combined for 204 yards on 12 receptions and two touchdowns.
In Wisconsin's past two games against Penn State and Michigan State, Abbrederis posted 10 receptions for 158 yards and two scores.
He is not ignored by opposing defenses but is an incredible route runner that is often left one-on-one due to Nick Toon playing opposite of him.
Montee Ball exploded onto the scene in 2010 when he rushed for 777 yards and 14 touchdowns in Wisconsin's final five games.
In 2011, Montee Ball became Wisconsin's primary back and established himself as arguably the best running back in the country. the junior ranks first in the country in rush yards (1,759), first in rushing touchdowns (32), first in total touchdowns (38) and 18th in yards per attempt (6.4).
Though he is not the complete back or athlete that Barry Sanders was, Ball is approaching Sanders' record of 39 total touchdowns.
It should be noted that Ball accumulated all of these impressive statistics despite not playing in six of Wisconsin's 13 fourth quarters.
The Heisman finalist will look to eclipse 100 yards for the tenth time this season against the Ducks 42nd ranked run defense.
The hometown kid Nick Toon battled injuries throughout his college career and this year was no exception. He had an injured foot in the middle of the year and battled a shoulder injury against Michigan State during the Big Ten Championship game.
The son of Al Toon is one of the most physically gifted receivers in the country at 6'3" 220 pounds.
He commands a lot of attention and this has given Jared Abbrederis an opportunity to make an impact as well.
Toon has not produced to the extent fans would like to see in big games, but his big-play ability should burn the Ducks once or twice in the Rose Bowl if he is left one-on-one.
Jacob Pedersen is a sophomore from Michigan that gained all-conference honors after an impressive 2011 season.
Bret Bielema has gone so far in saying that Pedersen could leave Wisconsin as the most complete tight end to ever play in a Badger uniform. That is high praise considering the Badgers have produced the likes of Owen Daniels, Travis Beckum, Garrett Graham and Lance Kendricks.
Wisconsin ranks second in the country in red zone offense as they have converted 96 percent of their red zone possessions and have scored 61 touchdowns in 70 drives.
Pedersen is a big part of that and is one of Russell Wilson's favorite targets in the red zone. If it's not Montee Ball scoring touchdowns, expect Jacob Pedersen to find a hole in the defense inside the 20.