Since the Wisconsin Badgers (1-0 overall, 1-0 B1G) took care of business in their opener against Illinois a lot has transpired. While COVID-19 has reared its ugly head along the roster, we at B5Q are going to push forward under the assumption that game No. 2 will move forward as planned.
Each week we at B5Q will review how each of Wisconsin’s opponents has fared heading into their contest with the Badgers.
That means it is time to answer the question, how you doing Nebraska Cornhuskers?
Results thus far:
Nebraska currently is 0-1 overall (0-1 B1G) through one contest.
Not necessarily injuries, but starting cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt and starting safety Deontai Williams will both miss the first half of the game Saturday due to targeting infractions in the second half against Ohio State.
One notably injury to monitor though will be tight end Jack Stoll who went down against the Buckeyes and did not return to action.
From the coach:
Scott Frost has deployed a two quarterback so far this season. Here is what he had to say at his weekly press conference about it per our Nebraska site Corn Nation.
I attribute it to having two good players that are good people and good friends. They are rooting for each other. Having them both on the field gets some of our best players out there.
They both deserve to play, I’ve said that. If we can get both out there, we’ll do it.
Status of the offense:
As alluded to earlier, Nebraska utilized and rotated two quarterbacks last week against Ohio State. Both Adrian Martinez and Luke McCaffrey were effective with their legs against the Buckeyes, rushing for a combined 180 yards on just 22 carries with long runs of 39 and 47 respectively. The duo shouldered the majority of the rushing output however, with running backs Dedrick Mills and Ronald Thompkins only accounting for 51 yards on the ground.
While the Nebraska quarterbacks were impressive on the ground, they were also efficient through the air against Ohio State. Martinez was tasked with throwing the ball far more than McCaffrey, but together the two quarterbacks were 16-of-20 for 160 yards, and were sacked three times.
On the outside the most dynamic playmaker on the entire offense is Wan’Dale Robinson. After breaking onto the scene as a true freshman last year, the former four-star recruit is expected to have a big year in 2020. Against Ohio State he mustered only 49 receiving yards on six catches, but he is the type of dynamic athlete that can break a big play at any time. The Badgers will need to be very good against the quarterback run, and keep Robinson in check if they hope to win on Saturday.
One area of tremendous growth for the Cornhuskers this season appears to be along the offensive line. The starting five did a wonderful job of holding their own against a young, but extremely talented Ohio State front seven. The battle between Nebraska’s starting line and Wisconsin’s defensive line will be a key to the game.
Status of the defense:
On the defense, senior linebackers Will Honas and Collin Miller fortify the middle of the defense. You may remember Honas as a junior college recruit out of Kansas that the Badgers attempted to nab late in the cycle, but the Cornhuskers won out. Both players had solid games against Ohio State with seven tackles apiece, with Honas also recording a pair of sacks.
Nebraska has yet to force a turnover this year on defense, but senior safety Marquel Dismuke is one of the top players in their secondary to keep in mind. He is a talented player in the back end of their defense, and with multiple starters missing in the secondary his leadership will be vital.
Overall the defensive line of Nebraska seemed to demonstrate improvement from years past (Melvin Gordon says hi), but the Cornhuskers still seem to have some areas of concern defensively as a unit. After all OSU is the cream of the crop in the conference, but surrendering 52 points is not ideal or any indication of a stout defense.
The targeting calls will definitely impact the Nebraska defense, but I was impressed by some of the growth of the offense for the Cornhuskers, especially along the offensive line. Wisconsin will have their hands full with stopping the spread attack that Nebraska uses on offense with some youth on the edges. If however, Wisconsin can contain the quarterbacks they should be in great shape.
On the other side of the ball, Scott Frost’s defense still seems to be multiple players away from being ready for contention in the conference, but then again the Badgers may be rolling with Danny Vanden Boom as QB1.