Kenzel Doe could be the X-Factor in any sort of run for the Rose Bowl. - Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
In a rematch of that early October clash, the Badgers manage to keep it close, but the Huskers run for the Roses.
- Andy Johnson (+231): Wisconsin 24, Nebraska 22
- Jake Harris (+236): Wisconsin 28, Nebraska 24
- Phil Mitten (+238): Nebraska 27, Wisconsin 24
- Mike Fiammetta (+243): Wisconsin 21, Nebraska 17
- Andrew Rosin (+286): Nebraska 28, Wisconsin 21
- Louis Bien: Wisconsin 28, Nebraska 20
- John Daly: Nebraska 24, Wisconsin 16
- Kevin McCauley: Nebraska 17, Wisconsin 14
- Jack Moore: Nebraska 27, Wisconsin 24
- Nathan Palm: Nebraska 31, Wisconsin 21
- Nick Korger: Wisconsin 27, Nebraska 20
- Adam Tupitza: Nebraska 27, Wisconsin 17
We all know how this season's gone. The Badgers get close, and through one form or fashion, the game has broken badly. In fact, should they win this game, the Badgers would be the worst winning percentage to make the Rose Bowl since Warren Harding was president. But that might be a good omen. After all, he is the President most famous for the Teapot Dome scandal, which was all about oil. Saturday gets adjudicated under Lucas Oil stadium.
And if you look at the Badgers defense? There's a definite reason to believe in the possibility of a scandalous upset. Granted, the Cornhuskers wore down the defense on the way to the victory in the previous match-up, and Rex Burkhead is back and ready to join Ameer Abdullah and Imani Cross in the backfield. Kenny Bell's healthy and will force the Badgers to be a little more honest. That being said, the Badgers are the 13th best rush defense, and Justin Jackson doesn't look like he's going to go in this game. So that being said? If Chris Borland goes, this defense is going to do some work to make this a tense, taut thriller.
Especially if they can manage to get a turnover off of Nebraska. They managed 2 off of them in their previous match-up and Nebraska's tied for 111th in Turnovers Lost. They can get a short field or two off of their offense. It helped them stay in it in Lincoln.
But, that means you have to trust the Badgers offense. I mean, Baker Steinkuhler's not going to play. And this will likely allow for Montee Ball to get another record-breaking touchdown (Most rushing touchdowns) But the problem with that is Chase Rome is. And if you notice what's happened in the past couple of weeks with the Penn State front seven and that Wendigo John Simon? Eric Martin is in line to have himself a big game of football, no matter how much advantage the Badgers take on the Cornhuskers 75th ranked rush defense.
And between that, and Nebraska's dominance of troubled passing games in recent weeks (defenses adjusting to Jared Abbrederis and no consistent second receiver emerging means that's where we belong)? There's a real chance that the Badgers could bog down. Not that Nebraska's defense is consistently great, but it does do three things well. Generate turnovers, stop teams on third down, and bog opponents down in the red zone.
That last one is what should scare the Badger fans the most. Nebraska's defense has turned an opponents red zone opportunity into a field goal or worse 53% of the time. Odds are that we're not going to escape having to use Kyle French at some point. And with the way this season has gone? French is a missed field goal or three away from being a name whispered decades from now for people to scare kids to into eating their vegetables.
But Nebraska doesn't as much of the pure special teams advantage as one would think. Nebraska's muffed four punts in their last six games. And while the Badgers haven't been great game to game in their returns, Nebraska's 110th in Punt Return Yardage allowed, and has allowed a kickoff to go the distance. Kenzel Doe has been spectacular in recent weeks returning kicks, and Jared Abbrederis could well break one.
Special Teams: Push