Keys to the Game: No. 13 Wisconsin at Oregon State
Can Montee Ball get untracked against the Beavers?
WISCONSIN WILL WIN IF: It can unleash the full fury of Heisman Trophy candidate Montee Ball. The senior running back rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown last week against Northern Iowa, but it took him 32 carries to get there. His 3.8 yard per carry average was his worst since the sixth game of his freshman year and his streak of scoring at least two touchdowns in regular season games came to a halt at 17. Ball rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries in last year's game against the Beavers and Wisconsin needs a similar effort from him here or else the Badgers could be in for another struggle.
OREGON STATE WILL WIN IF: It can keep from getting physically dominated at the line of scrimmage. It's no mystery that Wisconsin will try to use its physical nature in the trenches to overwhelm the Beavers. Luckily for Oregon State, it can bring some heft to the equation, with 354-pound Castro Masaniai at one interior tackle and 290-pound Andrew Suemalo (both are seniors) at the other. If the Beavers can hold their ground at the point of attack and force Wisconsin quarterback Danny O'Brien to loft it up against the likes of All-Pac-12 corner Jordan Poyer, there's a chance to pull the upset.
X-FACTOR: First game jitters. Oregon State is at a bit of a disadvantage as its opener last weekend against Nicholls State was canceled due travel issues related to Hurricane Isaac. The Beavers will start highly-touted true freshman Isaac Seumalo at center, a potentially scary proposition for quarterback Sean Mannion and the rest of the OSU offense. Head coach Mike Riley upped the stakes further this week when he said the coming game was "as big a non-conference game as Oregon State has ever hosted." Getting Seumalo and the rest of the team up to speed in time to rise to that challenge may be a lot to ask.
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