Wisconsin always seems to have a young defender come out of nowhere and assert himself in a major bowl game. In the second Rose Bowl against UCLA, a freshman named Wendell Bryant helped assert control on the line of scrimmage and made the game-clinching sack (in a game where all-everything defensive end Tom Burke was held every snap). In the 2002 Alamo Bowl against Colorado, a young cornerback by the name of Scott Starks came up with a huge interception to stymie a Buffalo drive. A whole slew of sophomores- who anchored a very mediocre regular season defense- made noise in the Capital One Bowl against Auburn (led by Deandre Levy- so good he makes plays for the Detroit Lions). And last year against Jacory Smith, JJ Watt left his mark on a national stage.
The Badgers always seem to play stellar defense in bowl games; and even when they don't they manufacture enough big plays (like the Fletcher pick six) to get the job done and provide support to a good offense. Part of that is preparation- because Wisconsin's offense is predicated more on execution than scheme, there's no real drop off for that unit. The defense, though, seems to always relish the chance to get ready. This leaves them better prepared against gimmick offenses, ready for the caliber of offensive player they'll face, and also provides the training time for a young player to make something big happen.
I'm picking Jordan Kohout. The in-state product has been hampered by the little injuries that effect a player on a week-in week-out basis. That being said, while only recording 1 TFL and 1 sack on the season (both against UNLV), has been in the system for two years. He'll be healthy (for the first time all season). Doeren will be rotating him, and likely moving Watt around to generate confusion.
I realize our freshman will be locking horns with an all-American. But he won't be overwhelmed; in fact, it'll be a normal day at the office, as he goes against a couple every day in practice.