With Rutgers venturing out to Madison, Wisconsin this weekend for the first time in history, we wanted to prepare for our game against a traditional Big Ten heavyweight. We were fortunate to speak with our friends at Bucky's 5th Quarter, the Wisconsin site for SB Nation. Andrew Rosin was nice enough to share some insight on the Badgers football team and what we should expect for this Saturday's game.
Wisconsin is suffering through some injuries right now, especially on the offensive line and with quarterback Joel Stave and running back Corey Clement. What is the status of these players for this weekend's game and how do you expect the offense to perform?
Center Dan Voltz is gone for the season. This leads the Badgers to run their sixth starting offensive line in nine weeks. Wide Receiver Robert Wheelwright is out for a lengthy amount of time. Joel Stave is cleared to practice, but the offensive line is now three freshmen and a junior who was a backup to a freshman the week before as 80 percent of the offensive line. So the o-line is questionable. We're in the window for Corey Clement to return, but we're unsure as to when.
The offense should be able to pass, wide receiver Alex Erickson, tight end Troy Fumagalli, and running back Dare Ogbunwale are all consistent targets. And of course, Rutgers can be thrown on. But that said? You're facing a young offensive line. You can get pressure. Short story longer? There are a metric ton of variables as to the Badgers offensive performance right now. I expect the Badgers to get yardage through the air. But they're not going to score a massive amount of points. They bog down.
Wisconsin's defense is ranked in the top 10 nationally in multiple categories. What do they do best and what players should Rutgers fans be aware of?
They generate pressure. Outside of linebacker Joe Schobert, there isn't anyone who's statistically dominant. That said, it's a talented back eight. The secondary is experienced, athletic and really good at holding down a team through the air. Linebacker Vince Biegel is having a down year of big plays, but if you ignore him, he'll make you pay. The inside linebackers are rangy tackling machines. True freshman Chris Orr came out of the box ready to make plays, and redshirt freshman T.J. Edwards leads the team in tackles.
Wisconsin has two losses on the season but is still in contention for the Big Ten West title. What is the pulse of the fanbase at the moment and thoughts on new coach Paul Chryst?
We're happy with Chryst. I mean, the Badgers have had to deal with injuries from jump street, and they've found a way to be in every game outside of the Alabama game. We're thinking of running a gofundme campaign to keep Dave Aranda in tow as the defensive coordinator. He's helped keep the Badgers with a record fans are used to.
I have been to Madison once before, the campus and town is really nice and a lot of fun. For Rutgers fans making their first trip out there, any recommendations for places to go and experience? Also what type of reception should we expect from Wisconsin fans?
The quintessential Madison experience is to visit State Street. In the shadow of the Capital there are many shops and restaurants. It's hard not to find something you'd enjoy there. My go-to restaurant of choice for new visitors is Dotty Dumplings Dowry. It's a real good meal there. As for question two, most Badger fans are relaxed and friendly. Obviously road game experiences may vary. But if you travel, you'll be treated well.
What is your prediction for the game?
There are a lot of variables here, and Leonte Carroo is going to be worth at least a touchdown if he's healthy. But something the Badgers can do is a matchup weakness for Rutgers. And the Badgers defense is really good. I think Rutgers gets the cover, but the Badgers win 28-17
I wanted to thank Andrew for his insight on the Badgers football team. Good luck to them this weekend. To read my answers to their questions, click here.