Wisconsin football notebook: Gary Andersen clears up Badgers' injury situation

USA TODAY Sports

A number of injured Wisconsin players were questionable for the Ohio State game earlier in the week. Head coach Gary Andersen gave the final verdict on many Thursday, while also detailing what he expects to see from the Buckeyes' offense.

MADISON -- Wisconsin has dealt with plenty of injury issues heading into its most vital game of the season Saturday at Ohio State. Updates from Gary Andersen, Thursday, though, softened the blow of how many Badgers will be sidelined when the team faces the fourth-ranked Buckeyes.

Andersen said cornerback Peniel Jean (hamstring), an essential piece to Wisconsin's secondary, will play Saturday. He also said starting outside linebacker Brendan Kelly (hamstring) will take the field.

Center Dallas Lewallen (ankle), wide receiver/returner Kenzel Doe (hamstring), wide receiver Jeff Duckworth (hamstring and cornerback T.J. Reynard were all ruled out, though, and freshman center Dan Voltz is now expected to make his first career start.

Andersen didn't give a definitive answer on tight end Jacob Pedersen (knee), but said, "Ped's progressing daily, so we expect him to be involved."

Andersen expects to see both OSU QBs

Braxton Miller has been named Ohio State's starting quarterback against the Badgers, but Andersen said he does expect to see Kenny Guiton in the game at some point.

Andersen has been saying all week, though, that he doesn't believe Wisconsin's defensive philosophy should change depending on which quarterback is out on the field. He also doesn't anticipate both taking the field at the same time.

Andersen also touched on something else about the Ohio State offense that hasn't gotten as much publicity this week.

"I think with the backs that they have, and they're back at full strength at running back, the thing that I anticipate is two-back, more triple-option, some of the stuff that they did a year ago," he said. "Both quarterbacks run it very well and they've been effective at that in the past."

Andersen said the Buckeyes have been a tough team to read through four games this season because they've wrapped up a victory by halftime most weeks. Ohio State enters Saturday's game averaging 25.5 points per first quarter and has outscored opponents by an average of 29.5 points in the first half of games.

"They're fast starters, without question," Andersen said. "The teams that they've played have been ready to play, and Ohio State has executed at a very high level. They're a quick-starting team, there's no question about that. It'll be a big part of this game."

Quick hits

-- With Doe out for a second straight game, Andersen said Kyle Zuleger and Corey Clement will return kickoffs against Ohio State. He also said James White and Melvin Gordon could return kicks in certain situations.

-- Gordon, who has helped lead Wisconsin to the third-best rushing attack in the country in terms of yards per game, gave a shoutout to the Badgers' wide receiving corps Monday for its role in assisting the team's dynamic running game. Andersen echoed that sentiment Thursday.

"First of all, they take good pride in (blocking)," Andersen said. "Secondly, I think coach (Chris) Beatty does a great job of making it important and recognizing the kids when they make those blocks, and I do myself to recognize them when they're sacrificing themselves that way. They block very well. They're physical. They're on the right guys. And the biggest thing is, it's a wide receiver group that takes pride in blocking."

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