Keep Sleeping on Wisconsin

When number 5 ranked LSU came to Lambeau Field to face off against unranked Wisconsin they figured they would have no problem running up the score before flying home. LSU was the team that was returning 18 starters from their 9-3 team a year ago; they were supposed to be one of the best teams in the nation, until they played Wisconsin. Wisconsin took care of business against Akron and Georgia State before taking the next step of their daunting schedule against Michigan State in Michigan. How does a 30-6 beat down of the number 8 ranked team sound? It sounds pretty good to me.

Wisconsin, now ranked number 8 in the nation will face off against number 4 ranked Michigan, again playing on their home turf in Ann Arbor. So after going 4-0 and defeating two top ten teams in the nation, the Badgers are 10.5 point underdogs against Michigan. Double-digit underdogs are something that the Badgers are used to being, but where is the respect from Vegas? What happens if they beat Michigan handily this weekend and then travel back to Wisconsin to face off against number 2 ranked Ohio State? Will Ohio State be double-digit favorites in that game as well? I would hope not since the game will be played at Camp Randall Stadium and Wisconsin will have three wins over top ten ranked teams if they can pull out the victory in Ann Arbor. Even more telling is the fact that two of the three wins will have come outside of the state of Wisconsin, and none at Camp Randall Stadium.

Alex Hornibrook, a redshirt freshman, took over for senior Bart Houston at quarterback last week against Michigan State and played better than anybody could have imagined. He went 16-26 for 195 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The interception came at the end of the first half on a hail-mary play, so in reality Hornibrook avoided the drive-killing turnovers that plagued Houston. When Wisconsin plays a slow, methodical game based on clock control, turnovers are something that has to be avoided. Hornibrook continually proved that he should be the quarterback holding the ball for the rest of the season, and he did it against the stingy Michigan State defense.

Even better than Hornibrook has been the Badgers defense, led by senior Vince Biegel. The defense forced Michigan State into committing four turnovers, including three interceptions by lauded senior quarterback Tyler O’Connor. On the long fumble recovery, Leo Musso returned it for a 66 yard touchdown that would essentially put to end any doubts about who would win at the end.

Corey Clement continues to be the backbone of the Wisconsin offense though he has left much to be desired when being compared to Wisconsin running backs of old. He has averaged 3.9 yards per carry to go with 5 touchdowns in the three games he has played, but that number is inflated by his 5.3 yards per carry against Akron. In his two games against LSU and Michigan State he has averaged 4.1 yards and 2.3 yards per carry, respectively.

I expect Wisconsin to roll into the Big House and pick up the victory 23-17.

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