Talks of a BCS game is starting to become a trend around Madison and the state of Wisconsin towards the end of November. However this time, the Wisconsin Badgers (9-2, 6-1) find themselves right now on the outside looking in as they sit in the 15th spot of the BCS standings. A spot in the top 14 would make the Badgers eligible for an at-large bid.
Standing in the way are the Penn State Nittany Lions (6-5, 3-4) who, after sanctions fell hard on the school, will not be playing in a bowl game this year and would like nothing more than to upset a hot Wisconsin team. Don’t forget it was just a year ago when Penn State knocked off the Badgers 24-21 in overtime.
Here are five things to keep an eye on as you watch the action on Saturday:
Penn State’s WR Allen Robinson vs. Badgers Secondary: Robinson is once again one of the best receivers in the conference, leading in receptions and yards per game. True freshman Sojourn Shelton and the Badgers secondary will have their hands full with Robinson. If this game stays close, a player like Robinson could be the difference maker for the Nittany Lions.
Badgers Defense vs. Penn State RB Zach Zwinak: In last year’s game Zwinak ran all over the Badgers defense, rushing for 174 yards and one touchdown. Also remember Badgers linebacker Chris Borland missed that game due to injury. I don’t see a repeat this year, however Zwinak is a key player to keep an eye on as he has rushed for 874 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.
Jared Abbrederis vs. Penn State’s Defense: The Badgers have used Abbrederis in a number of different looks and packages, and not just through the air. Whether it’s just a decoy or not, the Badgers will use Abbrederis in a jet sweep look and have used it efficiantly. If Penn State wants to keep this close, they must try to shut down Abbrederis by any means neccessary.
Penn State’s Defense Must Contain James White and Melvin Gordon: I say good luck with this aspect. The Nittany Lions defense has been decent against the run this year, however they (as long as the rest of the country) has not seen a running attack quite like this. James White has rushed for 1,281 yards and 13 touchdowns while Melvin Gordon has rushed for 12 touchdowns and 1,375 yards. For an upset to happen in Madison Saturday, Penn State must shut down these two backs.
Senior Day at Camp Randall Stadium: With the last regular season game in Madison come’s Senior Day, and it’s been a long time since Badger fans have seen a better class than these 26 seniors. A class led by players such as Borland, Abbrederis, White, Curt Phillips, Ethan Armstrong, Dezmen Southward, Jacob Pedersen and Beau Allen among others. It will be an emotional game as usual and the Badgers must try to keep their emotions in check. This senior group has embraced first-year head Gary Andersen and have been a group for the under classmen to look up to. All 26 seniors have exemplified what leaders should be, and from Badgers fans everywhere, we thank you for great memories in a Badger uniform.