As we head into the Wisconsin week, the Scarlet Knights are right about where most fans thought they would be. Outside of a missed opportunity against Northwestern, Rutgers with four wins, needs two victories over the remaining four games to become bowl eligible.
But securing one of those two wins this Saturday is going to be a tall order. Wisconsin (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) is playing its best ball of the season, having won four straight games after losing three of its first four games.
Wisconsin is a good team, plain and simple. The running game is well, typically Wisconsin with an offensive line that is big, experienced and at times dominant. Spearheading the running game is Braelon Allen who at 6’ 2”, 238 pounds is a punishing north-south runner, the type that always seems to be featured in the Badgers offense. Allen is averaging 6.8 yards per carry while Chez Mellusi leads the team with 158 carries and 740 yards. Wisconsin’s wide receivers are led by Danny Davis, Kendric Pryor, and tight end Jake Ferguson. The tight end room is thin as Clay Cundiff is out for the season and tight ends Cam Large and Hayden Rucci are already listed as “out” for Saturday’s game. The offensive line is huge, averaging 6-5 and 312 pounds per lineman.
The Badgers are led by sophomore quarterback Graham Mertz who so far this season has thrown three TD passes with seven interceptions. His overall passing rating is 39.0 ranking 106th in the country.
The Badger defense has been elite. “One of the hottest teams in the Big Ten, and the best defense in America,” coach Greg Schiano said. “It’s quite a challenge. We’re looking forward to it.”
Since losing to Michigan, the Badgers have allowed a combined 34-points, including back-to-back wins over ranked Purdue and Iowa. The Badgers have fielded a top-ten (seventh) defense nationally in seven of the last eight seasons. The Badgers are currently No. 1 nationally in total and rush defense, No. 5 against the pass and No. 8 in scoring defense, allowing just 17-points per game.
There are no glaring weaknesses for Wisconsin, although their passing game is just serviceable. The defense is strong from front to back with a stout defensive line, mobile linebackers, and a strong backside of the defense. The Scarlet Knights will be facing a difficult challege this Saturday.
News & Notes
- Rutgers and Wisconsin have played three times with Wisconsin winning all three meetings..
- The Badgers have lost seven players to the transfer portal this season, the most in the FBS as of Monday afternoon.
- The weather forecast according to AccuWeather for Saturday’s game is 56° and cloudy.
- Wisconsin is currently a 13-point favorite after an opening line of -11 earlier in the week.