Senior Day is always a bittersweet moment for college football fans. For some of us sickos, we’ve been following these players since they were sophomores in high school and it’s amazing to see them play their final home game in a Wisconsin Badgers uniform. There is also a tinge of sadness because Senior Day is just one more landmark on time’s inexorable journey onward.
Anyways, the No. 15 Badgers (7-3 overall, 5-2 Big Ten) welcome the Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-7 overall, 1-6 Big Ten) to Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday afternoon for a key Big Ten West clash. In fact, if Iowa and Minnesota lose during the 11 a.m. CT window, the Badgers can clinch the division title with a win over the Huskers.
There is a lot of joking, and rightfully so, about Nebraska being the “best three win team in America” but...it’s kinda true. The Huskers HAVE been playing better this year and have looked dangerous against teams like Oklahoma, Michigan and Michigan State. Only one of Nebraska’s losses has been by more than one score, and it was a nine-point loss to Ohio State.
Now, let’s be reasonable here...they did still lose all of those games. And whether it was inept play-calling, turnovers or God’s whim, a loss is a loss and Nebraska has plenty of them.
The Huskers offense has actually been pretty good this year in terms of yardage gained, but their advanced stats paint a bit of a different story. QB Adrian Martinez accounts for a whole bunch of Nebraska’s offense and will obviously be the player that Jim Leonhard’s defense keys on all game.
Nebraska is tied for the national lead in plays of 60 yards or more (eight) and 70 yards or more (five), and also ranks in the top 10 nationally in plays of more than 20, 30 and 40 yards. So Wisconsin’s secondary is going to have to be on point, which they have been over the past six games, to keep big plays to a minimum.
The Huskers also haven’t faced a defense like Wisconsin’s this year and I would expect Martinez and Co. to struggle moving the ball because, well, everyone has struggled to move the ball against the Badgers.
On offense, Wisconsin might find a little more success passing the ball than normal and Braelon Allen should gain yards, but probably not at the seven yards a clip he has been doing. Dating back to last season, NU has held five of its last eight Big Ten opponents to 350 yards or fewer.
The staff thinks this game will be closer than the last few Wisconsin have played, but everyone does think that UW will win.
Here are the staff predictions for the game:
Owen: 27-17, Wisconsin
J.J.: 20-13, Wisconsin
Belz: 28-20, Wisconsin
Rock: 27-23, Wisconsin
Kevin: 27-24, Wisconsin
Ryan: 31-10, Wisconsin
Bremen: 31-18, Wisconsin
Drew: 27-16, Wisconsin
Jake: 27-17, Wisconsin
Neal: 24-17, Wisconsin