The Wisconsin Badgers will face off against the New Mexico State Aggies on Saturday, with the former looking to bounce back after an upset loss to the Washington Cougars last weekend.
While the Aggies have significantly struggled offensively in 2022, the team does have two key players at a particular defensive position that could make for an intriguing matchup.
Let’s examine the matchup to watch for between the two teams ahead of Saturday’s Week 3 matchup.
Aggies Linebackers vs the Badgers offense
The New Mexico State Aggies roster two linebackers, Chris Ojoh and Trevor Brohard, who were top-level players for the team a season ago.
Ojoh had 72 tackles, six sacks, three forced fumbles, and 16 tackles for loss in 2021, which earned him a nomination on the Chuck Bednarik Award watchlist in the offseason.
Brohard recorded 71 tackles, two sacks, and seven tackles for loss in 2021, creating a solid duo manning the middle of the Aggies' defense.
While Ojoh is seen as a smaller-than-prototypical linebacker, the 6’1, 220 22-year old’s speed allows him to make plays in the backfield.
A former All-American FCS linebacker at Eastern Washington, Ojoh should lead the charge for the Aggies, especially with his turnover-forcing abilities.
Now, the Badgers offense should be able to move the ball more freely in Week 3, as New Mexico isn’t as strong on either side of the ball. Still, it will be intriguing to see how offensive coordinator Bobby Engram combats the presence of the Aggies’ linebackers over the duration of the game.
This could mean stretching out the field early, be it with deeper looks or screen plays, potentially forcing more looks from New Mexico’s dime package, while pounding heavily with the run game, creating a healthy balance.
Braelon Allen, who was held to under 100 yards for just the second time in his Badgers’ career against Washington State, should eclipse the mark, but how Wisconsin's offensive line will be able to move against the second level of the defense remains to be seen.
The Badgers likely return right tackle Riley Mahlman into the fold after the redshirt freshman missed last week’s game due to injury.