The Big 10 season begins for the Wisconsin Badgers with a trip to Lincoln to face their new rivals the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Badgers appeared to right the ship last weekend at home against UTEP, thanks in large part to a stellar performance by redshirt freshman running back Melvin Gordon. Things figure to get a whole lot tougher at Memorial Stadium against Nebraska. Freshman Joel Stave will start at quarterback under the bright lights for Wisconsin. Montee Ball is expected back in the lineup after leaving last week’s game with a concussion.
The big challenge for Wisconsin’s defense will be stopping Nebraska’s run game. Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah are a two-headed monster at running back, and QB Taylor Martinez is also a threat with his legs. Wisconsin’s defense has been stout against the run this year, led by linebacking duo Chris Borland and Mike Taylor. The big problem for Wisconsin could be up front. David Gilbert is healthy after leaving last week’s game but will not get the start due to a coach’s disciplinary decision. The next two defensive ends on the depth chart, Brendan Kelly and Pat Muldoon, are both out. This leaves inexperienced Tyler Dippel and Konrad Zagzebski as the two starting ends, though Gilbert will certainly not be held out long. The secondary must also become involved in stopping the run.
Defensively, Nebraska has had their struggles. They gave up over 600 yards to UCLA two weeks ago. Clearly these blackshirts are not the blackshirts of old. Wisconsin’s offense should feature big doses of the run from their now three-headed monster of Ball, James White and Melvin Gordon. Jared Abbrederis re-established himself as a deep threat last week after missing six quarters with a concussion. Joel Stave must protect the ball and hit a few big plays downfield for Wisconsin to kick off their Big 10 season with a huge win in Lincoln.
Game time is 7 PM central. The game will be televised on ABC and broadcast over the radio airwaves by The Badger Sports Network.