The second game of the 2017 season for the Wisconsin Badgers brings to Madison a first-time opponent and its well-known head coach.
Wisconsin (1–0) welcomes Lane Kiffin and the Florida Atlantic Owls (0–1) to Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday (11 a.m. CT, BTN), and it should be intriguing how both programs look after differing results in week one.
The Badgers overcame a 10-point deficit on the way to scoring 59 unanswered points against Utah State last Friday. Sloppy play early led to penalties, dropped passes, and an opportunistic Aggies squad taking advantage of those miscues. UW righted the ship starting midway through the second quarter and never looked back.
The Owls, on the other hand, did not fare well in Kiffin’s debut in Boca Raton, losing 42–19 to Navy as their defense was overran by the Midshipmen’s rushing attack. Offensively, there were some plays made through the air, but it was a one-dimensional attack.
Here are the TV/radio/streaming options for the game, as well as the Wisconsin players and positions to watch.
When and where is the game?
Florida Atlantic and Wisconsin will kick off at 11 a.m. CT at Camp Randall Stadium.
How can I watch?
The game will be broadcast on BTN. Kevin Kugler has play-by-play duties, while Matt Millen is the analyst and Lisa Byington reports from the sideline.
How can I stream the game online?
How can I listen to it on the radio?
On the Badgers Sports Network, where you’ll find the usual of team of Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas, Mark Tauscher, and Patrick Herb. On satellite radio, you’ll find the broadcast on Sirius 135/XM 195. Otherwise, head to BadgerSportsNetwork.com to find it. You can also listen on iHeartRadio (iOS/Android/online) by searching “WIBA.”
Wisconsin players to watch:
Defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk
The redshirt freshman earned a spot in the two-deep of Wisconsin’s depth chart vs. Utah State, then proceeded to record his first career sack in his first career game.
Loudermilk will be needed even more to rotate in for starters Conor Sheehy and Alec James after the injury to redshirt senior Chikwe Obasih, who will be out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury in practice this week.
The Owls’ offense was really one-dimensional last Friday, throwing for 286 yards but only rushing for 40. Wisconsin’s defensive line will have to slow the likes of FAU running backs Devin “Motor” Singletary and Gregory “Buddy” Howell in the run game while also either forcing pressure or getting their arms up to bat passes (at 6’7, Loudermilk can definitely do that).
Loudermilk is now an even more key reserve, and it should be fun watching him continue to grow in his second season.
The entire Wisconsin offensive line
That’s right, an entire position group.
Navy racked up 416 yards against Florida Atlantic last week in Boca Raton, with quarterback Zach Abey rushing for 235 yards in the 42–19 win.
No, quarterback Alex Hornibrook will not rush for 100 yards (wouldn’t that be something?!), but there’s a significant opportunity for left tackle Michael Deiter, right guard Beau Benzschawel, and the Badgers to ground and pound their opponents.
As Underdog Dynasty’s Cyrus Smith noted earlier this week, the Owls run a 4-2-5 defense. With defensive tackle Ray Ellis also now out for the year, UW just needs to #RunTheDangBall.
That starts with the offensive line, which with a new starting center in redshirt freshman Tyler Biadasz, started the season off well by paving the way for 234 rushing yards against Utah State—mostly in the final two-and-a-half quarters. That included runs of 41 yards by Jonathan Taylor and 26 yards by Bradrick Shaw.
How FAU will attempt to contain UW’s rushing attack should be interesting, and the injury to Shaw will force Chris James and Taylor to carry the ball more.
However, it all starts up front, and Wisconsin’s offensive line should improve on its initial effort from last Friday. If the Badgers see early success on the ground, it could be a long day for Kiffin’s defense. As Navy dominated time of possession last week, that could also limit FAU’s potency on offense.
Yes, we’re going the position group route again. Safety D’Cota Dixon mentioned after last weekend’s game how there was miscommunication, even in the second half when the Badgers stymied the Aggies’ offense. That could be due to the pace at which Utah State ran its plays, which can mix up calls and disrupt talking between players on the field.
As noted earlier, Florida Atlantic was pass-happy last week. Despite losing handily to Navy, the Owls scored on passing plays of 95 and 62 yards off the arm of redshirt sophomore quarterback Daniel Parr. That 95-yard strike to wide receiver Willie Wright gave the Owls a 10-7 lead until four minutes left in the half against the Midshipmen.
FAU boasts 11 personnel on its depth chart, and it will be interesting how the quarterbacks (Parr, Jason Driskel, and De’Andre Johnson) are used, along with how they utilize any sort of tempo.
Wisconsin’s secondary—with the likes of Dixon, free safety Natrell Jamerson, and cornerbacks Derrick Tindal, Nick Nelson, and Dontye Carriere-Williams—can certainly contain whatever Kiffin and his offense try to throw at them.
Two things bear watching: 1. What schemes defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard runs to counter FAU’s attack (last week, he started off in base 3-4 against Utah State but utilized a 2-4-5 look throughout the game), and 2. How the Badgers’ defensive backs improve their communication.
For more on FAU, check out our Owls Q&A with Underdog Dynasty.
Game predictions from B5Q staff
Jake Kocorowski: Wisconsin 48, Florida Atlantic 10
Jon Beidelschies: Wisconsin 52, Florida Atlantic 17
Ryan Mellenthin: Wisconsin 42, Florida Atlantic 10
Drew Hamm: Wisconsin 69, Florida Atlantic 3
Owen Riese: Wisconsin 52, Florida Atlantic 17
Kevin O’Connell: Wisconsin 45, Florida Atlantic 10
Neal Olson: Wisconsin 52, “Last Kiffin U” 6
Dylan Deich: Wisconsin 49, Florida Atlantic 6