The No. 21 Wisconsin Badgers will host the Hawaii Warriors Saturday afternoon at Camp Randall Stadium seeking to pick up their third consecutive win as they end their non-conference schedule.
Wisconsin is 2-1 after defeating the Troy Trojans 28-3 in the Badgers' home opener last weekend. The running game improved from its effort from a week prior -- gaining 199 total rushing yards on the afternoon. Joel Stave completed over 75 percent of his passes, throwing for 202 yards and accounting for two touchdowns (one rushing and one passing). Defensively, the Badgers limited the Trojans to 255 yards and did not allow a touchdown for the second consecutive game.
The Badgers look to end their non-conference schedule at 3-1 before Big Ten Conference play starts next week against an improved Iowa squad at home. Bovada currently has Wisconsin has a 25-point favorite.
For more on Hawaii, check out Andrew Rosin's preview:
Saturday brings Wisconsin's first home night game in forever, so there's a certain amount of excitement for a game that might otherwise hold considerably less energy. That's not to say there aren't some interesting aspects Hawaii, but this is another non-conference game the Badgers should win comfortably.
Why? Because the Rainbow Warriors' offense has started off as merely terrible through the grace of putting up 47 points in a win last week over UC Davis, a team that finished 2-10 in the Big Sky Conference last year. Looking at their team offensive numbers, there are numerous rankings in the hundreds. Passing yards per game: No. 101. Rushing yards per carry: No. 105. Third-down conversions: tied for No. 114.
So Hawaii's offense, No. 116 in terms of yards per play and with eight of 48 first downs through defensive penalties, isn't exactly looking threatening. That said, Max Wittek is a physically gifted quarterback and Marcus Kemp is a proven, solid wide receiver. So is Devan Stubblefield's, and if his six catches, 108 yards and a touchdown last week are a building block, Hawaii may be building a passing game. That said, the Rainbow Warriors do have an offensive line that can be attacked, and Wisconsin linebacker Joe Schobert is currently in the top 10 nationally for sacks and top three in tackles for loss. The Chevy Bad Boys are going to make a big play or two on the blitz, and they'll definitely help keep the Badgers' offense on the field.
Against the run, Wittek's struggles have left the classic scenario of eight or nine defenders in the box. Running back Paul Harris does have a little bit of breakaway to him if the defense has to respect the pass, but without his 95-yard touchdown run last week, he's averaging just a shade over 4 yards per carry. Melvin Davis is a thumper, and will get the short-yardage play if it comes up. But as previously mentioned, this is an offensive line that can be attacked. If Wittek struggles, it might be another touchdown-less game for Hawaii, which was shut out 38-0 at Hawaii.
Defensively, while Wisconsin might have a good game, Hawaii coordinator Tom Mason will eventually play spoiler for a team or three in the Mountain West Conference. The Buckeyes ended up having to wear the Rainbow Warriors down in the fourth quarter to get them to their 38-0 win; put another way, they're currently No. 33 in yards per play allowed, despite their offensive struggles.
Read below for the game's complete viewing information.
Hawaii Warriors vs. Wisconsin Badgers | Saturday, Sept. 26 | 8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT | Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis.
Live stream: The game can be live streamed on BTN2Go.
Mobile: BTN2Go has a mobile app for iOS and Android phones.
TV crew: Joe Beninati, J. Lehman, Jay Wilson
Radio: Badger Sports Network; Satellite: Sirius 132, XM 195; Mobile: iHeartRadio app (WIBA)
Radio crew: Matt Lepay (play-by-play), Mike Lucas & Mark Tauscher (analysts), Patrick Herb (sideline reporter)
Odds: Wisconsin -25, 50 o/u