Fifth Quarter Consensus: Badgers Win Leaders Divison Over Nittany Lions

The Predictions:

Louis Bien: Wisconsin 28, Penn State 20

Jake Harris: Wisconsin 38, Penn State 14

Adam Hoge: Wisconsin 27, Penn State 13

Phil Mitten: Wisconsin 27, Penn State 17

Chuck Schwartz: Wisconsin 28, Penn State 16

Adam Tupitza: Wisconsin 27, Penn State 20

John Veldhuis: Wisconsin 31, Penn State 17

Sam Zastrow: Wisconsin 28, Penn State 14

 

The Reasoning:

Despite two last-second losses that took them out of the national championship race, the Badgers are in position to win the Big Ten's Leaders Division when they host Penn State at Camp Randall Stadium Saturday. A win over Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis would send Wisconsin to its second straight Rose Bowl.

The Nittany Lions, led by interim coach Tom Bradley, stand in the way. They have endured one of the largest scandals in college sports history over the past few weeks, as allegations of child sex abuse against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky led to the firing of 84-year-old head coach Joe Paterno.

Nonetheless, PSU lost to Nebraska by just three points in its first game following the revelation of the scandal and went into Columbus and knocked off Ohio State last week. If the Nittany Lions can hand Wisconsin its first home loss since October 2009, they will be on their way to Indianapolis to face the Spartans.

Penn State has been anemic offensively, especially through the air. They rank 96th in the FBS in passing yards per game (194.5). Matt McGloin is finally the full-time starter at quarterback, but he has completed just 54.2 percent of his passes and tossed just seven touchdowns all season. Running back Silas Redd carries the load for the Lions, averaging 5.1 yards per carry.

As a result of their inefficient passing game, the Nittany Lions have struggled to score. They have put up 30 points just three times all season; Wisconsin has only failed to score at least 30 points twice. The Badgers' defense looked flat-footed and uninspired in the first half against Illinois, but it played well during the final 30 minutes. The unit gives up just 15.9 points per game and should be good enough to shut down McGloin.

Defensively, Penn State poses a much bigger challenge. The team ranks third in the nation in giving up just 13 points per game. With rain in the forecast for Saturday, the Badgers will likely rely on their running game to win the time of possession battle and move the chains.

The atmosphere in Madison will be electric, as the winner of this game keeps its Rose Bowl hopes alive. Penn State has a better Big Ten record than Wisconsin does, but the Nittany Lions have not beaten a single ranked team this year. The Badgers roll at Camp Randall.

Who has the edge?

Offense: Wisconsin

Defense: Penn State

Special Teams: Penn State

Coaching: Wisconsin

Intangibles: Wisconsin

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