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Tag:Travis Frederick
Posted on: November 29, 2011 6:18 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 6:22 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Wisconsin vs. Michigan State

Posted by Adam Jacobi

WISCONSIN WILL WIN IF: Montee Ball handles a heavy workload. It was plainly apparent in the first game Wisconsin and Michigan State played this year that backup tailback James White was ineffective when Ball was out after (sigh) "getting his bell rung." Ball appeared to lose consciousness on a first-quarter hit, missed roughly two quarters of action, and almost certainly had no business risking further head injury by coming back in the game. We can admit that, right? At any rate, Ball did come back in and led the Badgers back to tie the game, and that probably wouldn't have happened with White staying in at running back. So Ball's going to need to stay healthy and get at least 30 carries this week -- or at the very least Wisconsin's going to need to use White in more unconventional ways -- or the Badger offense is going to be in trouble of sputtering again.

MICHIGAN STATE WILL WIN IF: Wisconsin's defense is the same one we saw in October. Wisconsin's defense is not bad, and we've seen the Badgers effectively neutralize many an opponent en route to a lopsided victory this season. But Michigan State took it to them in a big way in the teams' first encounter in October, and it's not exactly an accident that MSU scored 37 points on Wisconsin. Kirk Cousins was able to throw the ball at will against a Badger defense that spent a lot more time chasing than covering ground. Michigan State can't just run the exact same gameplan as the first game; Wisconsin's going to have gameplanned around that. But the end aim has to be the same: a Badger defense on its heels, and MSU receivers running free.

X-FACTOR: Wisconsin center Peter Konz's left ankle. Continuity is crucial for the success of an offensive line, and Wisconsin's has stayed relatively healthy through the courst of the season. Unfortunately, Konz went out with a dislocated left ankle in the Badgers' 42-13 romp over Minnesota on November 13, and while he's eager to get back on the field, there's no guarantee that's going to happen -- he's still not out of a walking boot, much less practicing, and the coaches aren't going to play Konz without practice. The interior of the line has struggled at times in Konz's absence, with Travis Frederick and Ryan Groy having to switch spots between left guard and center at one point because of Groy's difficulties getting a clean snap off. The Badgers did rush for 264 yards on Penn State, but Montee Ball was held under four yards per carry in the first half, and Wisconsin's probably not going to have the luxury of waiting a whole half for Ball to start breaking big runs.

Posted on: November 5, 2011 7:17 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 19 Wisconsin 62, Purdue 17

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

WISCONSIN WON: 
The Badgers no doubt built up plenty of frustration in their last-minute (or last second) losses the past two weeks, and they took every bit of that frustration out on the helpless Boilermakers. Behind 223 combined first-half rushing yards from Montee Ball and Russell Wilson on 9.9 yards a pop, Wisconsin racked up 38 points before the break and was never threatened. The Badgers finished with 604 total yards to Purdue's 283, Ball cracking the 200-yard mark on the ground with 224.

WHY WISCONSIN WON: Well, a 45-point win suggests that there were many, many reasons that Wisconsin won. Certainly Wilson's brilliance was one of them; 15-of-21 for 9.7 yards an attempt with 2 touchdowns and no picks is nice, his repeated flummoxing of Boiler defenders with his legs to the tune of 76 yards and another TD even nicer.

But when you've rushed for 365 yards on 6.6 yards a carry for the game, the biggest stars on your offense haven't really been the guys handling the ball. They've been the guys up front, who in this case absolutely mauled a Boiler front seven that isn't nearly as bad today's numbers, honestly. (Defensive tackle Kawann Short has played his way into All-Big Ten consideration, for instance.) So take a bow, Wisconsin tackles Josh Oglesby and Ricky Wagner, guards Travis Frederick and Kevin Zeitler, and center Peter Konz; there's no way to watch what you did to to Purdue Saturday and think you haven't earned it.

WHEN WISCONSIN WON: Say this for Purdue: despite being so overwhelmed defensively, the combination of opportunistic offense and a pair of long kickoff returns by Raheem Mostert made it kind of a game at halftime, with the Boilers down "only" 21. And thanks to Mostert setting them up at their own 40 and a quick 16-yard completion to start the second half, the Boilers drove to the Wisconsin 36 with a chance to make it an actual game. Then they made the curious choice to attempt a 4th-and-5 conversion with a slow-developing running play. Akeem Shavers was stopped short with laughable ease, and that was that.

WHAT WISCONSIN WON: If the Badgers happened to lose any of their mojo and/or confidence against Michigan State or Ohio State, you'd have to think this kind of bludgeoning of the Boilers will go a long way to restoring it. And of course they stay two games back of Penn State in the Leaders division race with a game vs. the Nittany Lions still to come.

WHAT PURDUE LOST: Maybe a little bit of pride thanks to that final score. But c'mon, it was Wisconsin at Camp Randall; a victory was never in the cards.

 
 
 
 
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