MADISON, Wis. – With one game left in the regular season, the Badgers will host Penn State in Camp Randall, with the winner clinching a berth in the first ever Big Ten championship game. For a team that was on its heels just three weeks ago, it’s quite the feat that the Badgers even have a second chance at winning the Leaders Division.
"It kind of speaks for itself, it’s a semi-final. [It’s] winner take-all," co-defensive coordinator Charlie Partridge said.
The winner will play Michigan State in Indianapolis, with the winner securing the Big Ten’s automatic berth to the Rose Bowl. But before the Badgers can start to think about a rematch with the Spartans, they’ll need to overcome a stingy Nittany Lion defense that only gives up 13 points per game on average.
"There’s a very good football team coming into town, and we need our best Camp Randall fans ever," Partridge said. "We need our best effort in all three phases to have a chance to win this."
Frederick, Groy Swap Spots
It was always going to be difficult to replace Peter Konz at center. When the Badgers’ star lineman went down with a dislocated ankle against Minnesota, Ryan Groy stepped in and played well. But against Illinois, Groy had a little more trouble, including a bad snap that sailed over Russell Wilson’s head. Offensive line coach Bob Bostad switched Groy and left guard Travis Frederick, who played at center for the rest of the game. Bostad said that his players’ ability to switch positions in stride was invaluable yesterday.
"I can’t even put a price tag on it, right now that our kids have to be pretty [mobile]," Bostad said.
He also mentioned that Frederick would start at center against Penn State, while Groy will get his second start of the year at left guard.
News and Notes
-- The Badgers made a conscious decision to kick with the wind yesterday, according to Partridge. That turned out to be a good decision, as the Badgers were able to force a few touchbacks and didn’t have to worry about extra special teams mistakes.
-- The Badgers moved up one spot to No. 12 in the Coaches’ Poll, and stayed at No. 15 in the AP. The updated BCS Standings will be released tonight on ESPN.
-- Left tackle Ricky Wagner left the game briefly with a knee injury, which he called a minor MCL sprain. However, Wagner returned to the game and was able to finish despite the injury. Bostad said Wagner would be fine to play in Saturday’s game.
Join the Badger conversation on Facebook! Go to our Facebook page and "like" us!
For more Badger Football and Basketball news, notes and discussion, follow John on Twitter (@JohnVeldhuis).