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Troy vs. Wisconsin: Badgers look to build winning streak against Trojans

The Alabama state championship might be out of play, but Wisconsin should at least win the consolation game.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

When you have two games that were as diametrically opposed as Wisconsin's performances against Alabama and Miami (Ohio), you're bound to find out that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I mean, Alabama could probably go full "Ole Miss run it up" on Miami.

So yeah, there's still time before you consider Wisconsin playing at full strength. But even if the Badgers' true measure is yet to be decided, you're safe in assuming they aren't going to have to worry about the upset on Saturday.

Not to say Troy can't do enough to make it interesting. The Trojans play a fast-paced offense and sophomore quarterback Brandon Silvers has had plenty of success through the air. He's completed a career 70.5 percent of his passes and holds a 14-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Silvers also completed at least 15 passes to seven different receivers last season, and this year it looks like seniors Teddy Ruben and Bryan Holmes will be tasked to carry the receiving load. If Wisconsin's secondary plays to its talent level, odds suggest Silvers will face pressure and his 29-quarter interception streak will be in danger.

Senior running back Brandon Burks is also dangerous with the ball in his hands when he's in space. He's had one career game where he rushed more than 20 times and has six career hundred-yard rushing performances. He also has soft hands and is a definite threat to make something happen out of the backfield if the Badgers don't get to Silvers with their pressure. Troy does, however, have three offensive linemen with minimal starting experience. There is hay to be made on the defensive trenches.

For Troy defensively, to put it flatly, the Trojans were eminently gashable last season. They ranked 112th in total defense on a per-play basis, and with the offense they run, they're going to get a lot of plays.

That said, they do have two 300-pound tackles in Garrett Peek and Lonnie Gosha, and end Tyler Roberts is fast enough to shoot gaps. The Badgers' offensive line had trouble at times getting a push against the RedHawks, and weirdly Troy had a slightly better run defense when it played N.C. State instead of Charleston Southern.

Yes, Corey Clement is likely out for this week, but Dare Ogunbowale and Taiwan Deal should get better holes as the game goes along. Troy junior William Lloyd is an active tackler at linebacker, and for whatever safety Montres Kitchens does in the passing defense, he can be a reasonable facsimile of Michael Caputo against the run. Troy's going to have plenty of opportunities to make tackles.

I suppose exactly how fun the game turns out to be for Badgers fans falls on Wisconsin's passing attack. Robert Wheelwright had a gigantic first half against Miami and is proving to be the second necessary receiving threat; add Ogunbowale's catches out of the backfield, and Alex Erickson has tag-team partners to help him get single coverage.

Tight end Troy Fumagalli also practiced this week, and he might add another threat through the air for the Badgers at tight end. Basically, Joel Stave should get time to throw and have himself another cromulent game with a touchdown or three through the air.

All in all, if you're looking at the Badgers for entertainment purposes, they're looked at to win by about five touchdowns. That seems about right -- the Trojans have an efficient quarterback that can get them points, but the Badgers are going to score a lot on Saturday. The fun of it depends on just how carefully Wisconsin can hold onto the ball and force Troy into mistakes.

Projection, odds

F/+ projection: Wisconsin 43, Troy 10

Spread: Wisconsin -35 (-110)

Over/under: 59 (-110)

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