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Keys to victory: Wisconsin vs. Central Michigan

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What do the Badgers need to do to win their home opener?

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at South Florida Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Badgers opened the season in dominating fashion on the road, taking down South Florida 49-0. It was an impressive effort from all three phases of the game. The Badgers hit each key to victory last week, by running the ball well and getting pressure in both the run and passing game, as well as obviously handling the road pressure. Now the page turns to Week 2, where the Badgers open the home season against Central Michigan.

The Chippewas had a rough 2018, going 1-11. However, this still is classified as a battle of the unbeatens in 2019 so you’ve got to take them seriously. That has some satire, but it is still important to come in and do what is needed to avoid any funny business (a la BYU). So, what do the Badgers need to do to get to 2-0? Lets take a look.

Instill confidence in Coan

When analyzing Central Michigan, one thing really stood out to me from last year: despite the 1-11 record, the Chips ranked fourth overall in the nation in terms of pass defense. Yes, fourth. A spot above the big brother in Ann Arbor.

The glaring hole was the run defense, as they ranked 104th in that category. With Jonathan Taylor as your No. 1 option, I expect that to be the main area of attack for the Badgers, as it should be. However, I think the Badgers need to give Jack Coan ample amounts of throws in this game too. Wisconsin knows it has a way to win this game handily by keeping the ball on the ground, but they also know that they have a bye week and No. 7 Michigan coming to town in the coming weeks.

With that being said, I want to get Coan as many throws as possible this week so he goes into the bye week and Michigan week feeling confident. I thought Coan played pretty well last Saturday, and I think building confidence each week will only help QB1. Sure we can let JT take over again, but for the long term Coan should get a chance to air it out before the bye week. Here’s a few comments from Coan, also check out our boy Matt!

Let the defensive line run wild

Central Michigan is young in 2019. First year head coach Jim McElwain has quite the rebuild in front of him, and they may take their lumps early, especially on the offensive side of the football. Last year the Chippewas ranked 129th in total offense, only beating out our conference embarrassment, Rutgers.

They struggled in every category, but throwing the ball was a major concern. Now in 2019, Central Michigan only returns four offensive starters. New quarterback Quinten Dormandy had a good outing in Week 1, but it was against FCS Albany. I think Central Michigan will be improved from last year, but they’re still pretty young and inexperienced.

Especially on the offensive line, where the Chippewas will be starting three sophomores, including two at left tackle and guard. That should allow the defensive line to create a lot of pressure, and get themselves sacks or open up gaps for the linebackers. With Izayah Green-May out, and Chris Orr questionable, a strong performance from the defensive line should really help the new faces stepping in.

Get in and get out (healthy)

The home opener is always exciting, and fans should be pumped for the tailgating and festivities that come with it. On the field however, I hope the Badgers can get in and get out of this game unscathed. Wisconsin already has three starters out this week, and one questionable in Orr. The last thing the Badgers need in this game is any more injuries. I know people want to see the high profile guys play, but I hope the likes of Taylor and Jake Ferguson are in sweats after half. Come out strong and put it away early, so silly things don’t happen.

With a bye week coming next, you’ve got a chance to get everyone an extra few days of rest before a huge clash with Michigan. I know it’s bad to look ahead, but sometimes you have to be realistic. Let’s get in, have some fun and get out healthy. Oh, and cover the spread.