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Wisconsin football: Keys to Victory in the Las Vegas Bowl

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What do the Badgers need to do to come away with a win in Sin City?

Northwestern v Wisconsin Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Bowl is just a couple days away and the Badgers will be looking to end what has been an up and down season on a high note. Wisconsin comes in 8-4 and have a sour taste in their mouth after their regular season ended with a loss to Minnesota. Arizona State also comes in 8-4, after a similar season to Wisconsin.

Both teams will be looking to gain some momentum as they head in 2022. What do the Badgers need to do to make sure its them on the right side to end the year? Let us take a look.

Play Clean

When looking at statistics for these two teams one thing really stands out, and that is penalty yards. Wisconsin has had a down year in terms of penalties and comes in as the No. 39 ranked team in terms of yards per game assessed.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 05 UCLA at Arizona State Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

However, that isn’t even close to as bad as Arizona State who comes in ranked No. 127 in penalty yards and penalty yards per game. This Sun Devil group has been incredibly undisciplined all season long and it’s put them in multiple tough positions in winnable games.

On top of that, both teams come into this game as turnover-prone teams. Wisconsin ranks No. 108 in turnovers lost, and Arizona State ranks No. 87. If Wisconsin wants to come away victorious in this content playing a clean game in the turnover and penalty department would go a long way in helping put them in positive situations throughout the course of this contest.

Find balance offensively

The last time we saw the Badgers was in pretty disappointing fashion as they fell to Minnesota to end the regular season. I hate to trudge that game back up, but in it we saw just what this offense is without the dominating performances of Braelon Allen. Bad. In this contest, it’s going to be important for the Badgers to establish their strength, but they need to keep things balanced in this contest as well.

Wisconsin v Minnesota Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Coming into this game Arizona State ranks No. 18 in terms of total defense, No. 32 in terms of rushing defense and No. 26 in passing yards allowed. This test should be a very good one for the Badgers on that side of the football. However, Arizona State will be without some key pieces in the contest as second-leading tackler Darien Butler, and their two starting cornerbacks Jack Jones and Chase Lucas have all opted out in order to get ready for the NFL Draft.

Those three players are significant pieces and should help Wisconsin’s effort to move the ball. I am not saying that Wisconsin will come out and sling it around to attack younger corners, but a well-balanced attack could really catch some inexperienced players on their heels. It will be important for the Badgers to find some semblance of a rushing attack with Braelon Allen and then look to hit some plays off of that in play-action. One guy won’t win you this game, so it’s important to find some sort of balance in this spot.

Contain QB Jayden Daniels

Arizona State will also be without their top two running backs, which means moving the ball will likely be in the hands of Jayden Daniels. Daniels had an up and down 2021 season, especially when it comes to throwing the football. On the season, Daniels threw just ten touchdowns and nine interceptions.

ASU v Washington Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

However, he did make some really impressive plays with his feet. Statistically, Daniels is actually the second-leading rusher on the team with 670 yards and six touchdowns.

Overall, Daniels is a player who struggles when forced to stay in the pocket and make throws consistently. If he’s able to escape and make plays with his feet he’s a completely different player. He’s very similar to a player like Adrian Martinez, which should make Badger fans a bit nervous considering Martinez had three career-defining games against Wisconsin. If the Badgers want to have success defensively it seems they’ll have to make sure Daniels’ feet are accounted for consistently.