Another big showdown awaits the No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers as they welcome the No. 24 Michigan Wolverines to Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday with, once again, so much on the line for the Cardinal and White.
Michigan (8–2, 5–2 Big Ten) comes off a 35–10 victory over Maryland last week. Under the direction of sophomore quarterback Brandon Peters, the offense has generated yardage on the ground and is currently third in the Big Ten in rushing. The Wolverines’ defense ranks third in the nation in total yards allowed and ninth in points given up.
When and where is the game?
Wisconsin and Michigan will kick off at 11 a.m. CT at Camp Randall Stadium.
How can I watch?
The game will be broadcast on FOX with Gus Johnson assigned to play-by-play duties, Joel Klatt as the analyst, and Jenny Taft reporting from the sideline.
How can I stream the game online?
How can I listen to it on the radio?
On national radio, you can listen to the game on Compass Media with Jesse Agler assigned to play-by-play duties and Chad Brown as the analyst.
On the Badgers Sports Network, you’ll find the usual team of Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas, Mark Tauscher, and Patrick Herb. Head to BadgerSportsNetwork.com to find the broadcast. You can also listen on iHeartRadio (iOS/Android/online) by searching “WIBA.”
On satellite radio, you’ll find the broadcast on Sirius 83/XM 83.
Who and what to watch during the game
Battle in the Trenches I: Wisconsin’s rush defense vs. Michigan’s rush offense
Michigan has run for over 300 yards in two of its last three games (yes, against Rutgers and Minnesota) and now is third in the conference in that category (207.3 yards per contest).
Wisconsin, on the other hand, leads the nation in rush defense, giving up just 81.3 yards per game. Only four of UW’s 10 opponents have gone over the century mark on the ground, the most being 143 by Maryland on 35 attempts back in October.
Naturally, something has to give.
“I think they’re just more running and pounding the ball down the middle,” nose tackle Olive Sagapolu said on Wednesday. “I mean, it’s something that we’re looking forward to playing this week. We’ve known that they’ve kind of switched from the beginning of the year where they kind of [had] different personnel, but now they’re kind of just focused on running the ball. I’m very excited about, get to bang some heads a little bit. I think we’re very excited to play.”
Running back Karan Higdon is 146 yards shy from eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark. He did exit Saturday’s win against Maryland with an ankle injury, though an MLive report said both Higdon and Ty Isaac (548 rushing yards, 6.2 yards per carry, two touchdowns) participated in practice this week, according to fellow running back Chris Evans (569 rushing yards, 5.5 yards per carry, six touchdowns).
Regardless of who’s in the backfield, Wisconsin knows it will be a physical match-up.
“I expect them to come in here and try to just out-muscle us,” senior cornerback Derrick Tindal said. “Usually people that go to Michigan, they just automatically assume they’re better, ya feel me? I know they’re going to come in, they don’t really respect us too much, but I respect every opponent no matter how they feel about it. I expect them to come in here and run all over us and do whatever, but we’re going to step up and make things right.”
Battle in the Trenches II: Wisconsin’s rushing attack vs. Michigan’s front seven
Defensive coordinator Don Brown’s defense gives up only 110.3 rushing yards per game. Wisconsin is now second in the conference in running the ball, gaining exactly 245 yards per game across its 10 wins.
The word to describe Saturday’s game, again, is physical.
“They’re a solid group. They know what they’re doing. They know their scheme,” right guard Beau Benzschawel said on Tuesday about Michigan’s front seven. “They got some really good players on the inside that know how to make plays, so it’s basically just going to come down to us in what we have to do and executing along that along the line.”
Who wins at the line of scrimmage will be key, as three Michigan defensive linemen (Chase Winovich, Maurice Hurst, and Rashan Gary) have each already recorded over 40 tackles this year. Those three have combined for 34 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks through 10 games.
“They’re a very athletic group, but I think they’ve also got those little change-ups that can give offenses challenges, especially offensive lines,” Benzschawel said of the interior defensive linemen. “So it’s going to be our challenge just to kind of see that and sift through it and ultimately execute it, and hopefully get the gaps open for the backs or give ‘Horni’ time if we need to.”
Wisconsin true freshman running back Jonathan Taylor is third in the nation in rushing yards (1,525) and fourth in yards per game (152.5), thanks in part to Wisconsin’s best offensive line since Paul Chryst has come back to Madison. However, the Badgers could be without center Tyler Biadasz (left leg), who was still listed as questionable on Thursday’s injury report.
If Wisconsin cannot get its run game going, it could be tough sledding through the air, as Michigan is No. 2 in pass yards allowed per contest (144.5).
Third-down conversions should also be key. Michigan leads the nation in this category, allowing opponents to move the ball only 23.7 percent of the time. On the other side, Wisconsin leads the country in converting third downs (52 percent).
Jake Kocorowski: Wisconsin 24, Michigan 13
Owen Riese: Wisconsin 16, Michigan 10
Ryan Mellenthin: Wisconsin 27, Michigan 10
Drew Hamm: Brandon Peters -20, Alex Hornibrook -14 (Per Drew, “I think this means Wisconsin wins.”)
If only, David. If only.
in the final home game of the year, you finally set up an IV from the soda machine directly into your arm.— Dave Heller (@dave_heller) November 16, 2017
Dare I say it... NO INTERCEPTIONS?!?— Peter Gustof Swanson (@peterGswanson) November 16, 2017
This is bold, especially considering Michigan only gives up about 110 yards per contest.
Jonathan Taylor breaks the single game rushing record— I just want a damn edit button kthxbai (@JacksonKonecny) November 16, 2017
Groschek throws a touchdown and Badgers convert in a fake punt. Chryst is going to get creative on Saturday.— Chris Jones (@jonescm128) November 16, 2017
14-10 Badgers . AH with a rushing touchdown . JT with 180— David Roelke (@DavidRoelke) November 17, 2017
How about a Nick Nelson touchdown....either a pick 6 or punt rerurn TD— RyGuy (@Ryguy3223) November 17, 2017
Ah yes, defensive slugfest.
Teams combine for more pick sixes than offensive TD passes.— Kaleb Gottwald (@Kaleb_Gottwald) November 16, 2017
Badgers win 28-10. Hornibrook has 1st game without pic in the millennium. Badgers rush over 200 yards. Special teams make 1 big play and defense gets 2 turnovers.— Trader 8 Ball (@trader8ball) November 16, 2017