After a 54-10 trouncing of Akron, the Wisconsin Badgers host another program that’s seen a bit of a turnaround in recent years in the Georgia State Panthers. After posting a 1-23 record in his first two seasons at Georgia State, head coach Trent Smith led his team to a 6-7 campaign and bowl eligibility last season. In addition to the massive jump in wins, Smith’s 2015 campaign also showed a major improvement in several other statistical categories. Now, in the program’s fourth season at the Division-I FBS level, Smith looks to take the program to the next step.
The 2016 campaign, Smith’s fourth at Georgia State, hasn’t quite aligned with that plan thus far. Picked to finish near the middle of the conference, the Panthers have opened with two consecutive losses, including a 48-14 blowout loss to Air Force last Saturday. The team returned 16 starters from last year’s squad but has struggled in all facets so far. The team hopes to start the turnaround with a solid performance against Wisconsin, its eighth all-time matchup against a Power Five school but first against a Big Ten program.
When and where is the game?
Wisconsin’s final non-conference game of 2016 and first-ever meeting with Georgia State kicks off at 11 a.m. CT from Camp Randall Stadium.
How can I watch?
The game will be aired on Big Ten Network, with Brandon Gaudin and Chuck Long on the call.
How can I stream the game online?
Via the BTN2Go app on iOS or Android, or www.btn2go.com.
How can I listen to it on the radio?
Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas, Mark Tauscher and Patrick Herb will again bring you the game via the Badger Sports Network. You can head to BadgerSportsNetwork.com to find a local station. You can also listen on iHeartRadio (iOS/Android/online) by searching WIBA.
Wisconsin vs. Georgia State? I swear I’ve seen this matchup before…
The time you’re thinking of was probably on the hardwood rather than the gridiron, and Badger fans will probably want to forget it as soon as they’re reminded. In 2001, the Georgia State basketball team beat Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Badgers, a No. 5 seed, were a year removed from their 2000 Final Four appearance while the Panthers were a No. 11 seed making their second appearance in the tournament.
One Badger, one Panther that could decide the game
Wisconsin running backs Taiwan Deal and Dare Ogunbowale
OK, I cheated and included more than one Badger. If we’re being honest, I could have included freshman Bradrick Shaw here as well. That being said, it’s tough to choose between the Deal and Ogunbowale when looking at the Badgers’ backfield situation against Georgia State. Whether or not Corey Clement plays, both Deal and Ogunbowale (and Shaw) should see plenty of work.
While they have differing styles (Deal is the cliché "thunder" to Ogunbowale’s "lightning"), they each have the same amount of carries (13) and are within two total yards of each other. While Deal got more carries against Akron than Ogunbowale, the pair has shown equal success when Clement has missed time in the past. Their non-conference performance without Clement:
It’s well-documented that Georgia State has struggled against the run (394.5 yards allowed per game, last in the nation), so it’s easy to see how Deal and Ogunbowale could continue this success with our without Clement. The Wisconsin offense figures to feed the pair the ball and grow the rest of its offense from there on Saturday. If the running game produces like it has in the past (and Georgia State defends the run like it has in the past), the Badgers will be on their way to 3-0.
Georgia State receiver Robert Davis
The Georgia State football program has been in existence since the 2010 season and wide receiver Robert Davis entered his senior season among the most productive players in program history. Entering this matchup with Wisconsin, Davis is near the top of nearly all of Georgia State’s career receiving categories and is among the nation’s active leaders in receiving as well. As it relates to Georgia State, Davis sits second in school history in receptions (166), receiving yards (2,563) and touchdown receptions (12); he trails only Albert Wilson of the Kansas City Chiefs in those statistical categories. Nationally, Davis is eighth among active FBS players in receiving yards and 13th in receptions.
Having caught at least one pass in every game in his career (39 games), the 6’3 senior is no stranger to production. The defensive secondary he faces is also no stranger to receivers of Davis’ stature and experience. In each of the first two games of the 2016 season, the Wisconsin secondary has faced a couple receivers who resemble Davis’s profile:
|1||Travin Dural, LSU||6'2"||207 lbs.||5||50||1|
|1||Malachi Dupre, LSU||6'4"||195 lbs.||3||24||0|
|2||Jerome Lane, Akron||6'3"||220 lbs.||3||43||0|
|2016 Season||Robert Davis, Georgia State||6'3"||220 lbs.||5.5||70||0|
Featured on an offense that has struggled to run the ball, Davis will need to outperform these numbers to give the Panthers a chance on Saturday. Without cornerback Natrell Jamerson, the Wisconsin secondary will look to continue its success against leading receivers like Davis.