MADISON, Wis. -- Conference expansion was guaranteed to bring changes to the Big Ten, and one of those changes is staring the Badgers right in their collective faces. For the first time in Big Ten history, two teams will play twice in the same year. And to make it even more interesting for the Badgers, their foe is all-too familiar.
Michigan State’s 37-31 win over the Badgers in East Lansing changed the Badgers’ season in one gut-wrenching moment, but the team can’t get caught up in a desire for revenge if they want to take advantage of this rare second-chance. Center Peter Konz knows that it’s better to look inward this week.
"We know we have to be mentally sharp on every play, we’re not so much worried about revenge," Konz said. "We’ve seen their schemes before. We’re focused on Wisconsin, and how we can best [match] up with our schemes."
Sophomore wide receiver Jared Abbrederis echoed head coach Bret Bielema after practice Tuesday when he said the best want to prepare for the game was to keep things consistent.
"The preparation is the same like any other week, you look at the film like you haven’t seen them before," Abbrederis said. "You kind of do know who they are a little bit, but obviously you have to keep the same game week preparation."
Junior running back Montee Ball does see getting a second crack at the Spartans as a good learning experience, and an opportunity to see what he could do better for this week.
"That’s one of the advantage of playing this team again," Ball said. "Watching the film … it’s probably going to be the same players on that side. So we’re going to make sure we do it right this time."
And then at the end of the day, it’s all about taking advantage of this second chance for Abbrederis. In the old Big Ten, two losses would have almost certainly eliminated the Badgers from the Big Ten title discussion. But the new divisional format breathed life into the Badgers, and they’re determined to cash in.
"We have a good opportunity ahead of us to go and win the Big Ten," Abbrederis said. "It’s not about revenge. It’s more about the opportunity that we have."
-- Center Peter Konz did not practice in pads Tuesday, but he did partake in individual drills. He’s still day-to-day, and said the coaching staff will probably make a game-time decision on whether or not he can play.
"As long as I get some physical reps, I think we’ll just go up to game time and go from there," Konz said.
News and Notes
-- Konz mentioned that backup quarterback Nate Tice is the only player on the Badger’s roster with any experience of playing a team twice in a season. Tice spent his freshman year at UCF, and transferred to Wisconsin in 2008.
-- Montee Ball won the first Ameche-Dayne award last night, which is given to the Big Ten’s best running back. It was a rather obvious selection, but Ball said he was still honored and excited to receive the honor.
"I felt great. It was an overwhelming feeling, and I feel blessed ... to win that award. Just for the names [that] are on it," Ball said.
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