A year ago, a cocky group of Huskers and their fans walked into Camp Randall stadium expecting to show the Big Ten what ‘Husker football is all about. Nebraska fans even wore black to “distinguish” themselves from the red clad Badger fans. After 60 minutes of football they wished they could hide under a rock after getting pounded 48-17.
Fast forward a year later and this game spells big trouble for the visiting Badgers. Wisconsin has hardly impressed anyone in its first four games while Nebraska has looked to be the team to beat in the Big Ten. As if a road game at Nebraska is not a big enough challenge consider these three factors for Wisconsin: 1) Freshman quarterback Joel Stave will be making his first career road start. 2) Montee Ball left last week’s game against UTEP with a head injury and his status is uncertain. 3) This is a primetime night game that will have the locals in Lincoln ready to provide a less than inviting welcome to the visiting Badgers.
Although Husker fans would tell you that this year’s defense is not exactly up to their standards, it should have no trouble containing the one dimensional attack of the Badgers (and I use the word “attack” loosely). Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez has altered his throwing motion and has been a much more effective passer this season. Running backs Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah combine to create the most effective backfield in the league.
What will happen: Nebraska wants payback for being embarrassed in Madison last year and the problems with Wisconsin have been well documented this season. While the Badgers looked to grab a little momentum a week ago, they are walking into the perfect storm this Saturday. Nebraska will pressure the Badger offense early forcing Joel Stave to prove he can beat them throwing the ball….he can’t. Look for Nebraska to jump out early and force Wisconsin to throw the ball more than they want. The Badgers offensive line has been a sieve the first four weeks and with the Stave & Co. forced to play catch-up, the Nebraska defense will be living in the Wisconsin backfield.
Prediction: Nebraska 38 Wisconsin 16
Play: Nebraska -13
Written by: Ben Zimmer
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