When they write songs and poems of the Badgers circa 2015, they will talk about the grit, grind, and the fallen players as the road to ten wins was traversed. This point in the season, the Badgers are set up to have the two easiest on paper games going into the much needed bye week. Step one, the easily punnable Rutgers Scarlet Knights. It's a game with a lot of unknowns, but the Badgers look to continue their win streak.
And while there's been so much talk about how the Badgers have been young and injured a bunch, the Scarlet Knights are potentially down two major offensive pieces. Wide receiver Leonte Carroo, when healthy, has been one of the most dominant talents at receiver in the nation. He's averaging almost 22 yards per catch and has nine touchdowns in five games. He injured his ankle in the Indiana game, and missed several practices and was taken out of the Ohio State game. It goes without saying that Rutgers is a much different offense with Carroo than without.
With that said, Janarion Grant is another useful wide receiver for the Scarlet Knights, but he shines in special teams. He's one of four players with multiple kickoff returns taken back for a touchdown. In addition to that, he was able to take a punt to the house for another touchdown. He has a very specific lower body injury, and if Grant can't play, quarterback Chris Laviano is potentially down two targets, and would just take what the Badgers can give them in the passing game.
The Scarlet Knights running game is three-pronged and is definitely underrated. Senior Paul James and sophomores Josh Hicks and Robert Martin will all take carries and both sophomores have hundred yard games to their credit. With the injuries to Rutgers receivers, you can see Rutgers attempt to grab 50 carries, and you can see any member of the Badgers linebacking crew to threaten to get to double digits in tackles.
The Badgers are starting three redshirt freshmen on the offensive line in Beau Benzschawel, Micah Kapoi, and Michael Dieter. A fourth offensive lineman in Walker Williams has had trouble separating himself from the redshirt freshman. It's been one offensive line combination after another for Wisconsin in nine weeks. It's a part of the reason why Wisconsin has had so much trouble running the ball. And it's definitely a reason why Badger fans are waiting on junior running back Corey Clement to return.
While we're in Clement's window, he's not on the depth chart for this week. And that means another week where it's Dare Ogbunwale front and center, but Taiwan Deal looks ready to return, which should help even though Alec Ingold had flashes of monster trucking when he took carries. At this point, you know what you're getting with these two. They'll be serviceable. Rutgers linebacker Steve Longa is looking likely to get to get double-digit tackles but no matter, that's not the match-up that has the Badgers looking likely to win.
Even despite Robert Wheelwright being out with a leg injury, the Badgers have the targets to get another three hundred yard game through the air. Quarterback Joel Stavlooks to be back under center, and wide receiver Alex Erickson and tight end Troy Fumagalli are set up to continue being the stars of the offense facing a secondary that's one of six teams to allow more than 310 yards through the air. There's an opening for a second receiver with Wheelwright being hurt, and maybe it's time for Jazz Peavy to take another step this season.
If you're looking at Vegas for entertainment purposes. the Badgers are looking to win comfortably. Too comfortably if Carroo comes out and plays. But unless the rain in the forecast effects the passing game too adversely or Rutgers decides to risk Joel Stave not getting the ball off against the blitz against their secondary and wins more often than not, this is a game the Badgers win.